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Web-Enabled Configuration and Control of Legacy Codes: An Application to Ocean Modeling

Evangelinos, C., P.F.J. Lermusiaux, S. Geiger, R.C. Chang, and N.M. Patrikalakis, 2006. Web-Enabled Configuration and Control of Legacy Codes: An Application to Ocean Modeling. Ocean Modeling, 13, 197-220.

For modern interdisciplinary ocean prediction and assimilation systems, a significant part of the complexity facing users is the very large number of possible setups and parameters, both at build-time and at run-time, especially for the core physical, biological and acoustical ocean predictive models. The configuration of these modeling systems for both local as well as remote execution can be a daunting and error-prone task in the absence of a graphical user interface (GUI) and of software that automatically controls the adequacy and compatibility of options and parameters. We propose to encapsulate the configurability and requirements of ocean prediction codes using an eXtensible Markup Language (XML) based description, thereby creating new computer-readable manuals for the executable binaries. These manuals allow us to generate a GUI, check for correctness of compilation and input parameters, and finally drive execution of the prediction system components, all in an automated and transparent manner. This web-enabled configuration and automated control software has been developed (it is currently in “beta” form) and exemplified for components of the interdisciplinary Harvard ocean prediction system (HOPS) and for the uncertainty prediction components of the error subspace statistical estimation (ESSE) system. Importantly, the approach is general and applies to other existing ocean modeling applications and to other “legacy” codes.