Discover Computational Collaboratory


Project DISCOVER (Distributed Interactive Steering and CollaborativeVisualization Environment) is an attempt to develop a generic framework that will enable interactive steering of scientific applications and also allow for collaborative visualization of data sets generated by such simulations. We aspire to develop a computational infrastructure that will have the potential of transforming large-scale distributed scientific and engineering simulations into interactive and collaborative ones where numerous scientists, geographically distributed, will monitor, analyse and steer scientific computations. 

Scientific simulations play an increasingly critical role in all areas of science and engineering. The simulations of expensive scientific problems are necessary to validate and justify the investment to be made. Interactive computational steering helps increase the performance of simulations for scientists because it allows them to drive the simulation process by interacting with their data. In addition, collaboration between scientists situated in geographically distributed locations would significantly increase understanding of the complex phenomenon underlying these simulations. 

Project DISCOVER is being developed at The Applied Software Systems Laboratory (TASSL) in the Computer Aids for Industrial Productivity (CAIP) atRutgers University 

Application domains 

DISCOVER aims to build a framework that can be used to integrate a suite of 
applications spanning multiple disciplines including 

  • Numerical relativity and relativistic astrophysics 
  • Subsurface modeling  and oil reservoir simulations 
  • Dynamics response of materials 
  • Turbulence modeling, shock- density inhomogeneous interaction 
  • Seismic whole-earth modeling 



Computational steering is the online management of the execution of an application and of the resources it uses. Such a monitoring tool is necessary for controlling the execution of long-running, resource intensive applications and for purposes of experimenting with application parameters or improving application performance. 

In an interactive computational process, a sequence of specification, computation and analysis is performed. Interactive simulations is a way to increase the utility of high performance simulations whereby scientists can drive the scientific discovery process and interact with the data being computed. They can interpret what is happening to data during simulations and steer calculations at real-time. Also, computational steering enhances productivity by reducing the time between changes to parameters and the viewing of results. It enables the user to explore a what-if analysis, and as changes in parameters become more instantaneous, the cause-effect relationships become more evident. 

DISCOVER is a generic architectural framework into which any scientific application can be integrated to be made interactive so as to be able to collaborate the motinoring, analysis and steering of the application. 

Our approach to the formulation of a solution for this consists of the following 

  • High performance scientific application that consists of computation objects. 
  • Interaction components and agents deployed in the application that will enable interaction capability in the computation objects and the application as a whole. 
  • Data management layers that will enable easy management ofdistributed objects in a multiprocessor system. 
  • Data repository that contains data sets generated by the application during the course of computation. 
  • Interaction Servers that are web servers dedicated for setting up and maintaining the interactive steering session. 
  • One or more clients collaborating in an interactive session to monitor, analyse and steer the application. These clients can be of varying resources and capabilities, can be distributed geographically and can remotely request application object details from the server. 


The National Science Foundation DARPA Dept of the Navy Science and Technology Department of Energy Department of Homeland Security

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