SI2-SSI: Collaborative Research: ENKI: Software infrastructure that Enables Knowledge integration for Modeling Coupled Geochemical and Geodynamical Processes

Lead PI: Marc Spiegelman

Unit Affiliation: Seismology, Geology and Tectonophysics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

July 2016 - August 2019
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: Earth scientists seek to understand the mechanisms of planetary evolution from a process perspective in order to promote the progress of science. They model the chemistry of melting of the interiors of planets as a result of heat flow within the body. They calculate the flows of energy and mass from the interior to the surface. They model the interaction of fluids and rocks, which drives chemical weathering and the formation of ore deposits. They seek to understand the synthesis and stabilities of organic compounds and their economic and biological roles. They study the interactions of atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and land as a dynamically coupled evolving chemical system. To achieve this level of understanding of planetary evolution, Earth scientists use software tools that encode two fundamentally different types of models: (1) thermodynamic models of naturally occurring materials, and (2) models of transport that track physical flows of both fluids and solids. Much of the fundamental science of planetary evolution lies in understanding coupled thermodynamic and transport models. This grant funds development of a software infrastructure that supports this coupled modeling of the chemical evolution of planetary bodies. It is their aim to establish an essential and active community resource that will engage a large number of researchers, especially early career scientists, in the exercise of model building and customization. This is a project to create ENKI, a collaborative model configuration and testing portal that will transform research and education in the fields of geochemistry, petrology and geophysics. ENKI will provide software tools in computational thermodynamics and fluid dynamics. It will support development and access to thermochemical models of Earth materials, and establish a standard infrastructure of web services and libraries that permit these models to be integrated into fluid dynamical transport codes. This infrastructure will allow scientific questions to be answered by quantitative simulations that are presently difficult to impossible because of the lack of interoperable software frameworks. ENKI, via the adoption of state-of-the-art model interfacing (OpenMI) and deployment environments (HubZero), will modernize how thermodynamic and fluid dynamic models are used by the Earth science community in five fundamental ways: (1) provenance tracking will enable automatic documentation of model development and execution workflows, (2) new tools will assist users in updating thermochemical models as new data become available, with the ability to merge these data and models into existing repositories and frameworks, (3) automated code generation will eliminate the need for users to manually code web services and library modules, (4) visualization tools and standard test suites will facilitate validation of model outcomes against observational data, (5) collaborative groups will be able to share and archive models and modeling workflows with associated provenance for publication. With these tools we seek to transform the large community of model users, who currently depend on a small group of dedicated and experienced researchers for model development and maintenance, into an empowered ensemble of model developers who take ownership of the process and bring their own expertise, intuition and perspective to shaping the software tools they use in daily research. ENKI development will be community driven. Participation of a dedicated and diverse group of early career professionals will guide us in user interface development - insuring portal capabilities are responsive to user needs, and in development of a rich set of documentation, tutorials and examples. All software associated with this project will be released as open source.