Visualization and Analysis Platform for Ocean, Atmosphere, and Solar Research (VAPOR)
The VAPOR project is an Open Source software development effort aimed at improving the ability of earth sciences researchers to analyze and interpret results from some of largest numerical simulation outputs in the geosciences. VAPOR is one component of a larger, NSF-ITR-funded time-varying data research-and-development project whose collaborators include NCAR, U.C. Davis, and Ohio State University. With NCAR leading software development, and our university collaborators taking the lead on research, a mutually beneficial relationship has been established; NCAR provides a steady supply of interesting research challenges to our university partners, who in turn help provide solutions to some of our toughest visualization and data analysis problems. Development of VAPOR is closely guided by a steering committee comprised of turbulence researchers from around the world. This panel of experts sets development priorities, dictates software requirements, and serves as friendly users for testing and evaluating new software features.
Decades of continual advancements in microprocessor technologies have led to numerical simulations of earth sciences phenomena computed at unprecedented scales. This work yields numerical outputs of extraordinary sizes. But our ability to manage, analyze and gain insight from these simulation data has not kept pace with our ability to generate them, and for many numerical modelers the greatest challenge in the discovery process begins after the simulation has completed when the analysis process begins. The VAPOR project takes aim at the problem of large-data exploration with an intelligent approach: by exploiting multiresolution data representation, coupled with advanced interactive visualization and quantitative analysis capabilities, VAPOR provides a comprehensive desktop environment suitable for exploring terascale-size data sets.
VAPOR supports two of NCAR's strategic priorities: "Developing and providing advanced services and tools" and "Creating an Earth system knowledge environment."
A number of significant outcomes were realized in FY 2006. The most important milestone was the first production release of the software. Other noteworthy results include:
Work on VAPOR in FY 2007 will focus on extending VAPOR's core analysis capabilities, expanding its support for adaptive meshes and spherical grids, and exploring data compression. We will also make a focused effort to grow the nascent VAPOR user community.
This project is made possible through support from NSF's Information Technology Research for National Priorities (ITR) program.