Collaborative Research: GEO OSE Track 1: Transforming Volcanology towards Open Science in the Cloud with VICTOR

Lead PI: Einat Lev , Charbonnier, Sylvain; Connor Charles B; Patra, Abani K;

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

September 2023 - August 2025
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: This project continues the development and expansion of Project VICTOR, the Volcanology Infrastructure for Computational Tools and Resources, which provides a novel cyberinfrastructure serving the volcanology community. The volcanology community is transforming into a computer-savvy, data-driven, quantitative discipline that requires a matching cyberinfrastructure. Specifically, VICTOR provides a platform for executing numerical simulations of volcanic processes, including lava flows, ash, tephra dispersal, and pyroclastic density currents. During the preceding pilot phase, the VICTOR platform was initiated and a preliminary set of codes and workflows was developed. The new project will expand upon VICTOR capabilities by collaborating with model and database developers in the community to connect these tools to the platform. The central purpose of VICTOR is to catalyze the volcanology modeling community to advance model quality and access and promote model literacy and overall collaboration. Thus, this project will put special emphasis on education and training. The project will take a multi-faceted approach that combines: (1) inclusion and integration of community software codes, (2) workshops, (3) educator training and teaching modules for undergraduate and graduate level classes, and (4) establishment of a community governance structure and effective communication channels.

VICTOR is based on a JupyterHub platform, and access is through a central web portal. All components are based in the cloud, to allow for demand-based resource management, workflow portability, and reproducibility, and to offer access to high-performance computing to a broader community. The project will develop computational workflows that use new capabilities and libraries of models to simplify model verification, validation, and benchmarking and streamline access to required external datasets such as topography and environmental conditions using public Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Workflows will utilize modern computing tools such as Jupyter Notebooks, minimizing the time-intensive steps of locating, installing, running, and testing models. Workflows will enable standardization of model inputs and outputs, facilitating studies of linked- and multi-hazard scenarios. The reproducibility and reliability of the modeling process will be enhanced through capabilities to save, re-run, edit, and test workflows. Ultimately, the combination of open-access models, data science tools, and the provisioned low-barrier access to computing resources will increase usability by the community and accelerate the transition to a culture of open science.

BROADER IMPACTS: We are proposing a comprehensive, multi-layered plan for in-reach with the volcanology community to promote the use of VICTOR and its tools and the adoption of Open Science principles in our community. Our plan includes multiple levels of activity, from webinars and recorded tutorials about computational geophysics and the tools available on VICTOR, to hack-a-thons and workshops, to VICTOR-based teaching modules. We will work with a cohort of university instructors, primarily from minority serving institutions, to integrate these modules into classes. This approach to education and training (E&T) will maximize the opportunity to advance volcanology into the Open Science ecosystem. All the educational and training materials will be multilingual, starting with English and Spanish, to encourage adoption by users in the many volcanically active Spanish-speaking countries and by students from under-represented communities in the USA. Acknowledging the importance and scope of this effort, we will recruit a coordinator to oversee the E&T activities for the project. Lastly, a streamlined environment for volcano modeling has the direct impact of reducing the risk to life and property from volcanic eruptions. Initially, VICTOR will be free to observatories and government agencies tasked with assessing and preparing for volcanic hazards globally. At the conclusion of the project, we will investigate licensing and other arrangements to promote sustainability


National Science Foundation




University of South Florida, Tufts School of Engineering