AIST 2002 NRA Released

NASA’s Office of Earth Science Awards 21 Contracts for Advanced Information Systems Technology

09/16/2002 – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded funding
for 21 new investigations for information systems technology development,
under the Advanced Information Systems Technology (AIST) Program, which
supports NASA’s mission to understand and protect our home planet. The
proposals, selected from a field of 200 submitted proposals, focus on
high-priority information technology areas: on-board processing, space-based
communications networks, mission automation, and high-end computing technologies
for modeling. The total funding for these investigations, over a period
of three years, is approximately $23 million; investigators hail from
14 states and the District of Columbia.

The main purpose of AIST is to invest in research and development
of new and innovative information technologies to support and enhance
the Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) science and applications objectives
in the 21st century. AIST focuses on creating mature technologies leading
to smaller, less resource-intensive and less expensive flight systems
that can be built quickly and efficiently, and on more-efficient ground-based
processing and modeling systems that improve the use of Earth science

The technologies selected include the implementation of
science algorithms in hardware for onboard processing, as well as for
the direct distribution of change detection data products from space.
Reconfigurable on-board processors will also be matured to support onboard
data compression, short-range weather forecasting and cloud detection,
and sensor webs and formation flying.

Also selected were space-based network technologies to
facilitate seamless connection from instruments or sensors on-board the
spacecraft to the user community using existing commercial Ethernet standards.
An innovative technique for increasing current printed circuit board memory
capacity by an order of magnitude will enable advanced data processing
and the use of new high-resolution sensors.

Communication and mission automation technologies to enable
the implementation of cooperative observations using constellations and
sensor webs will also be developed. These include novel approaches to
network protocols and architectures, automated scheduling, and mission
automation using Earth phenomena observing systems.

Analysis of Solid Earth, Carbon and Weather data obtained
from Earth Observing satellites will be enhanced through the maturation
and integration of various high-performance computer modeling techniques.
These models will be complemented by the development of an intelligent
data analysis system that automates some ground system data processing

The investigations selected by NASA’s Office of Earth Science

Atiquzzaman, Mohammed University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
Seamless Handover in Space Networks
Bergamo, Marcos BBN Technologies, Cambridge, MA
Multi-Satellite Virtual Private Network
for Space-Based Applications (SpaceVPN)
Byler, Eric Lockheed Martin Aerospace Corporation, Palo Alto, CA
Realtime-Reconfigurable Distributed-Computing
for Adaptive Science Operations in Satellite Formations using Heterogeneous
CPUs and Heterogeneous Connectivity
Di, Liping George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Integration of OGC and Grid Technologies
for Earth Science Modeling and Applications
Donnellan, Andrea NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA
Complexity Computational Environments:
Data Assimilation SERVO Grid
Durden, Stephen NASA JPL, Pasadena, CA
An On-Board Processor for a Spaceborne
Doppler Precipitation Radar
Gray, Andrew NASA JPL, Pasadena, CA
Reconfigurable Protocol Chip for
Satellite Networks
Herath, Jeffery NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), Hampton, VA
Radiation Tolerant Intelligent Memory
Stack (RTIMS)
Joseph, James Spectrum Astro, Gilbert, AZ
TCP/IP Router Board (TRB) with Ethernet
Kolitz, Stephan Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Cambridge, MA
Mission Automation for “A Train”
Correlative Measurements Using the Earth Phenomena Observing Systems
LeMoigne, Jacqueline NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD
A Reconfigurable Computing Environment
for On-Board Data Compression and Cloud Reduction
Lin, Mike NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD
10/100 Mb/sec Flight Ready Ethernet
Lou, Yunling NASA JPL, Pasadena, CA
On-Board Processor for Direct Distribution
of Change Detection Data Products
Mandl, Daniel (NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD
Hybrid Ground Phased Array Prototype
for Low Earth Orbiting Satellite Communications
Morris, Robert NASA ARC, Moffett Field, CA
Planning and Scheduling of Coordinated
Science Observations
Nance, Kara University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK
Intelligent Dataset Identification,
Assimilation, Collection and Transformation System
Peters-Lidard, Christa NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, MD
Coupling High Resolution Earth System
Models Using Advanced Computational Technologies
Rew, Russell UCAR/NCAR, Boulder, CO
Merging the NetCDF and HDF5 Libraries
to Achieve Gains in Performance and Interoperability
Schott, Brian University of Southern California, Arlington, VA
Reconfigurable Hardware in Orbit
Thornton, Peter National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO
Implementing an Efficient Supercomputer-Based
Grid Compute Engine for End-to-end Operation of a High-Resolution,
High Data-Volume Terrestrial Carbon Cycle Model
Weigand, Daniel ITT, Reston, VA
RF Agile Low-Power Transceiver (LPT)
Technology for future Space-Based Communications Networks

Abstracts for Panel Recommended Fund

Proposal Number AIST-02-0028 (Panel 1A)
Title An On-Board Processor for a Spaceborne
Doppler Precipitation Radar
PI Stephen L Durden
The objective of this work is
to develop an on-board data processor for a spaceborne Doppler precipitation
radar. The radar system and Doppler processor would be used to measure
the reflectivity and vertical motion in precipitation, both of which
are needed for direct calculations of latent heating. Precipitation
and vertical motion measurements are directly related to NASA ESE
strategic questions concerning atmospheric variability and predictability.
Recent work has demonstrated the feasibility of measurement of vertical
motion in the atmosphere using spaceborne Doppler radar. However,
for small convective cells, the finite size of the radar footprint,
in combination with the large platform velocity, creates large velocity
errors when using conventional estimators. It has been shown that
errors can be substantially reduced when the full Doppler spectrum,
rather than just the mean Doppler, is used. Because of the large
data volume associated with down-linking the raw radar data, on-board
processing is highly desirable. The FPGA-based on-board processor
proposed here performs Doppler spectral estimation, and averaging.
The FPGA firmware design will be tested by simulation and by operation
in an FPGA board.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0045 (Panel 1A)
Title On-Board Processor for Direct Distribution
of Change Detection Data Products
PI Yunling Lou
We will build an on-board imaging
radar data processor for repeat-pass change detection and hazards
management. This is the enabling technology for NASA ESE to utilize
imaging radars. This processor will enable the observation and use
of surface deformation data over rapidly evolving natural hazards,
both as an aid to scientific understanding and to provide timely
data to agencies responsible for the management and mitigation of
natural disasters. Many hazards occur over periods of hours to days,
and need to be sampled quickly. The new technology has the potential
to save many lives and millions of dollars by putting critical information
in the hands of disaster management agencies in time to be of use.
The processor architecture integrates two key technologies by combining
a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) front-end with a reconfigurable
computing back-end. Through this approach we are able to capitalize
on the strengths of both technologies for the optimization of performance
while maintaining flexibility where needed within the algorithmic
implementation. A searchable on-board data archival will store the
reference data sets needed for change detection processing. The
benefit of this technology development is not limited to future
spaceborne imaging radar missions, but will aid any NASA and commercial
spaceborne mission that requires high-speed FPGAs, digital signal
processors, and searchable data archival systems. This technology
development is critical to mitigate the technical risk, cost, and
schedule of on-board processing for future spaceborne missions.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0157 (Panel 1A)
Title Reconfigurable Hardware in Orbit
PI Brian Schott
This proposal is focused on
reconfigurable computing (RC) in space, using field-programmable-gate-array
(FPGA) technology. The techniques to be developed address the increased
demand of computations in space, resulting from the use of more
complex algorithms necessary to acquire, process, and transmit data.
This research addresses not only the computational / transmission
requirements, but also the desirability to adapt the on-board processing
algorithms in real-time, through software up-loads. Thus, this technology
seeks to enable the use of Reconfigurable-Hardware-in-Orbit (RhinO),
via an integrated design tool-suite aiming to reduce risk, cost,
and design time of multi-mission reconfigurable space processors
using SRAM-based FPGAs. The research team has considerable expertise
in these areas as applied to reconfigurable/adaptive computing systems,
radiation effects, power optimization (FPGA-specific), and development
of design tools. The effort leverages technologies developed at
the University of Southern California s Information Sciences Institute
(ISI) under DARPA-funding since 1997 on Adaptive Computing Systems
(ACS). This effort is carried-out in collaboration with the NASA
centers at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and Ames Research
Center (ARC). GSFC and ARC will provide NASA ESE-driven applications
and algorithms, and discuss, guide, and focus appropriately the
research findings; furthermore, ARC will participate actively on
the design of robust FPGAs for space operations. Other team members
are Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), and Brigham-Young University
(BYU); both of which were actively involved with ISI on the DARPA-sponsored
ACS program that developed the baseline technology for RC used today.
LANL and BYU will participate in the development of the RHinO toolkit
and testing FPGAs in space environment.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0076 (Panel 1B)
Title Radiation Tolerant Intelligent Memory
Stack (RTIMS)
PI Jeffery Alan Herath
The Earth Science Enterprise
(ESE) has identified many systems that require on-board satellite
data processing for future science needs. Continuing themes in addressing
these are the ever increasing resolution, quality and quantity of
collected data. The ability to efficiently handle these large amounts
of data necessitates the use of larger on-board memories. This project
will develop a radiation tolerant memory, suitable for both geo-stationary
and low earth orbit missions, which provides 2 gigabits of error
corrected digital memory to address this mounting need. The Radiation
Tolerant Intelligent Memory Stack (RTIMS) will be designed, built,
tested and integrated onto a 6U Compact PCI printed circuit board
(PCB) by the completion of this project; thereby increasing the
potential memory capacity of such a PCB, currently used in space
missions, by over 10 times. RTIMS will take advantage of the circuit
stacking technology of 3D-Plus USA and new package level radiation
shielding. By using FPGA technology for the memory controller, RTIMS
can also be used as a key element in adaptive / reconfigurable computing
applications. RTIMS will significantly enhance a broad range of
high data rate missions. This project will develop and demonstrate
the RTIMS technology, which will enable new Earth observation measurements
and information products, increase the accessibility and utility
of Earth science data, and reduce the risk, cost, size, and development
time of ESE space-based systems.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0099 (Panel 1B)
Title 10/100 mb/sec flight ready Ethernet Hardware
PI Mike Lin
The objective of this proposal
is to develop Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN) hardware technology
in radiation hardened components and build flight capable prototype
hardware to validate the designs and reduce risks for future insertion
into NASA flight programs. The benefits of Ethernet technology would
enable high performance networks & processors, lower end-to-end
spacecraft development costs, and the ability to leverage off of
the extensive existing commercial infrastructure. Ethernet immediately
and directly targets several of the ESE Strategic mission, goals,
and objectives for applications and technology outlined in the road
map for 2003 to 2025, including missions such as GPM. The approach
is as follows. First we leverage off of the previous ESTO funded
work by NASA GSFC in the development of a breadboard Ethernet Network
Interface Card (NIC) and a breadboard Ethernet switch. The Ethernet
NIC was built and tested successfully at 10 and 100 Mb/sec, and
the 8-port Ethernet switch is currently being developed. Using this
work as a starting point, we would transition both designs into
radiation tolerant Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA). The new
flight ready designs, NIC and switch, would be built and tested.
NASA GSFC and Orbital Sciences would perform the work. The project
will take a little over one year to complete. The cost of this development
over two fiscal years would be $557K, providing a low cost networking
solution for ESE missions, based on the commercial Ethernet standard.
This Activity elevates the TRL for flight Ethernet from 4 to 5.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0113 (Panel 1B)
Title TCP/IP Router Board (TRB) with Ethernet
PI James Edward Joseph
Increasing spacecraft and instrument
capability coupled with faster downlink data rates and tightened
funding demand seamlessly accessible instruments and sensors. A
TCP/IP Router Board (TRB) with Ethernet Interfaces provides that
solution with significant benefits over existing interfaces: 1)
Reduced EGSE cost by 50%, 2) Scalable and reconfigureable for future
needs, 3) Seamless TCP/IP Access, and 4) Based on existing commercial
standards. Ethernet is the most common technology used for networks
in a terrestrial environment to support IP. Routers are now being
used in business environments to divide company networks into smaller
interconnected networks using shared resources. While a spacecraft
has only a few network nodes, a router can isolate those nodes into
networks by function and provide increased overall bandwidth on
the network. Spectrum Astro proposes combining its Ethernet Multipurpose
Board (EMB) (TRL4+) with an embedded RISC processor (TRL3) and TCP/IP
router software (TRL3) to develop a Space-Qualified TCP/IP Router
(TRL7). After design trades identify the preferred configuration,
the EMB is modified to support 4-port router development, router
software is implemented, and EGSE is developed to test the router.
Then a cPSB backplane and a flight-qualifiable TCP/IP router are
designed and fabricated. The TCP/IP router is tested thermally and
mechanically demonstrating that it meets the requirements for a
flight-qualified component. The proposed effort integrates our NASA
GRC funded TCP/IP Ethernet hardware with existing router software
taking the evaluation model to a flight design. The period of performance
is eighteen months.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0128 (Panel 1B)
Title A Reconfigurable Computing Environment
for On-Board Data Reduction and Cloud Detection
PI Jacqueline Le Moigne
The objective of this proposal
is to investigate the use of reconfigurable computing for on-board
automatic processing of remote sensing data. The Reconfigurable
Data Path Processor (RDPP), a radiation tolerant alternative to
Field Programmable Gate Arrays, developed at NASA/Goddard under
ESTO funding, will be the computation engine of our study. For this
feasibility study, two basic methodologies will be implemented on
the RDPP: data reduction and cloud detection. These two types of
processing represent the most important first steps to be performed
on-board, since they enable to reduce communication bandwidth, and
make subsequent computations simpler, faster and more accurate.
An adapted software environment developed for the RDPP will be utilized
for the design of these new algorithms. For validation purposes,
three applications are being targeted: (1) dimension reduction of
hyperspectral data for land use classification purposes , (2) cloud
detection of Landsat-7 data, and (3) data reduction and cloud detection
of AIRS data for data assimilation purposes. To insure the success
of this endeavor, our team represents a blend of researchers with
broad expertise in hardware and software design, as well as Information
and Earth science, with impressive records of research and numerous
publications. The significance of this research goes beyond the
development of well-chosen technologies as the results of our work
will be the basis to build on-board autonomous systems for future
Earth Science and formation flying missions.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0065 (Panel 2)
Title Hybrid Ground Phased Array Prototype for
Low Earth Orbiting Satellite Communications
PI Dan Mandl
The purpose for this proposal
is to validate new antenna and array signal processing technologies
that either used separately or in combination significantly lower
the cost to purchase, maintain and operate ground antenna systems
in the X and Ka-band for low earth orbiting satellites. This proposal
is in the category of ”Space-Based Communications Networks”. These
technologies will increase reliability by minimizing or eliminating
moving parts. They will increase operational flexibility and capability.
If successful, these antenna technologies can enable progressive
mission autonomy by providing a cost-effective demand access messaging
service to low-earth orbiting satellites via a cell-tower network
of antennas. The proposal outlines a set of experiments with some
back-end (adaptive beam forming algorithms) and some front-end technology
(space fed lens and reflectarray) that in combination can optimize
cost and capabilities. The technologies begin at Technology Readiness
Level (TRL) 3 for the space fed lens and the reflectarray and begin
at a TRL 4 for the adaptive beamforming. For the NASA Ground Network,
the typical 11 m dish costs NASA $2 4 million. The sensitivities
for the 11 meter antennas are higher than needed and so this new
technology will be built to meet the required threshold for typical
satellites such as EO-1. This effort explores technologies to lower
acquisition cost to a target of under $100K.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0086 (Panel 2)
Title RF Agile Low Power Transceiver (LPT) Technology
for Future Space-Based Communications Networks
PI Dan Weigand
Low Power Transceiver (LPT)
technology, the result of cooperative government and industry efforts,
is an emerging enabler for future, sophisticated space-based communications
networks. LPT applies commercially available components and open
standards, and serves as a host platform capable of: accommodating
mission specific requirements; providing communications across satellite
constellations encompassing diverse orbits and communications characteristics;
and ensuring connectivity from scientist to instrument. The proposed
effort focuses on the addition of programmable RF tuning based on
application of emerging high speed converter and programmable filter
technologies that, when complete and integrated with LPT, will yield
the first true Software Programmable Radio platform for space, encompassing
the entire RF to baseband signal processing path. Termed fLPT, this
unit will enable future space missions to reconfigure on-orbit operating
frequencies in real-time to contend with evolving mission challenges,
such as: ad hoc constellation formation; time-varying RF interference/congestion;
and geographic spectrum allocations. ITT proposes to develop and
test key receive/transmit modules to demonstrate the application
and benefits of direct RF sampling techniques for RF agile space
transceivers. This effort builds upon a current AIST program – –
emphasizing fault tolerant digital electronics in LPT — and produces
results that can apply to a broad range of NASA, AFRL and other
government/commercial space programs. This proposed AIST effort
will start at TRL 3 and progress through TRL 4 and 5 over the 3-year
program duration, with emphasis on: developing prototypes of new
electronics modules; integration with current LPT capabilities;
and validating applicability to space via environmental testing.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0125 (Panel 2)
Title Seamless Handover in Space Networks
PI Mohammed Atiquzzaman
There is significant interest
in deploying the Internet protocol in space. A number of NASA-funded
projects are studying the possible use of Internet technologies
and protocols to support all aspects of data communication with
spacecraft. These include prototyping, testing and evaluating various
IP-based approaches and solutions for space communications. A spacecraft,
moving between ground stations, acts like a mobile node in a communication
scenario. Consequently, NASA has been experimenting with Mobile
IP for managing handover of spacecraft between ground stations.
The handover mechanism in Mobile IP may be too time and bandwidth-consuming
in the limited resources environment of spacecraft communication.
Moreover, Mobile IP suffers from a number of limitations such as
packets losses, increased overhead due to IP-in-IP encapsulation,
wastage of network bandwidth, and overloading of routers. The objective
of this project is to investigate an alternative handover scheme
with a view to solving some of the issues related to Mobile IP.
The scheme could thus become a potential candidate for managing
handovers and maintaining seamless connectivity in an IP-based space
network. In this project, we propose to leverage the dynamic connection
setup and multihoming features of SCTP, a new transport layer protocol,
to develop seamless satellite handovers. The study will be carried
out using simulation and laboratory testbed. The outcome of this
project will result in a space-friendly scheme for managing handovers
in space networks.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0142 (Panel 2)
Title Reconfigurable Protocol Chip for Satellite
PI Andrew A. Gray
This task proposes the development
of methods, architecture, and a hardware prototype for realizing
a space-based dynamic reconfigurable protocol chip for Earth Science
Enterprise satellite constellations. This architecture, its associated
object oriented design methods, and partial reconfiguration techniques
enable rapid autonomous reconfiguration of space communications
network functions. This reconfiguration provides long-life space
communications infrastructure, enables dynamic operation within
space networks with heterogeneous nodes, and compatibility between
heterogeneous space networks (i.e. distributed spacecraft missions
using different protocols). An architecture for implementing a software
reconfigurable network processor for satellite communication applications
is proposed; a laboratory prototype is developed as part of the
proposed effort. This work builds upon numerous advances in commercial
industry as well as NASA and military software radio developments
to develop reconfigurable space network processing and processors.
The development of such radios and the network protocol chip presented
here require defining the correct combination of processing methods
(!?objects!?) and developing appropriate dynamic reconfiguration
techniques as a function of system goals and operating parameters.?n
Dynamic reconfiguration techniques to be developed as part of this
effort include autonomous network/protocol identification and autonomous
network node reconfiguration. Technologies developed will target
future satellite constellations and applicable to the CALIPSO mission,
flying in formation with Aqua (2004), COACH (2006), EOS-9 Global
Precipitation Mission (2007), and Grace follow-on: formation flying
spacecraft (2010). They also conform fully to technology thrust
areas described in the Earth Science Enterprise Strategic Plan.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0202 (Panel 2)
Title Multi-Satellite Virtual Private Network
for Space-Based Applications (SpaceVPN)
PI Marcos A Bergamo
This research addresses the
unique problems of multi-satellite networking for creating a secure
IP-based communications infrastructure for SensorWebs in space.
BBN’s approach focuses on two critical aspects of the SensorWeb
problem: the architectural framework for extending standard IPsec-based
Virtual Private Networks to space and the Multi Satellite Network
(MSN) technologies required to enable on-demand real-time access
to on-board instruments, and integration with the terrestrial Internet.
BBN’s architectural framework integrates the use of low-cost ground
stations, networking between satellites operating in diverse orbits
and ground stations, the opportunistic use of the terrestrial Internet
to fill in sparse areas in the satellite constellation, and standard
secure IP (IPsec) tunnels terminating at the satellites or ground
stations. The space network leverages the TRL-3 technologies BBN
is developing for NASA’s High Throughput Distributed Spacecraft
Network (HiDSN – Contract NAS 3 01101) that integrate the use of
dynamic null-steered multi-beams (for maximum spatial reuse of the
spectrum) and BBN’s Tdma with Cdma-encoding Multiple Access TCeMA
(for variable rates and maximum connectivity), with network layer
protocols optimized for space applications. The key results of the
proposed work will be the definition of a common ground/space networking
capability that could be used to complement GEO relays in future
NASA satellites and ground stations. This will be coupled with demonstrations
of the developed technologies in a laboratory prototype capable
of realistically emulating the satellite mobility in LEO orbits
and communication links including null steered beams, and signal
derived from beams of widely varying received power.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0135 (Panel 3)
Title Intelligent Dataset Identification, Assimilation,
Collection and Transformation System
PI Kara Nance
Earth observation platforms
require the identification, collection and synthesis of diverse,
geographically distinct, heterogeneous datasets in an attempt to
understand or model a phenomenon. At present, in many cases, significant
effort is required by the scientists and modelers to gather, organize,
and transform the necessary data prior to scientific analysis or
model execution. Each of these steps takes time away from the scientific
analysis process. This project will address the problems raised
as increasingly complex scientific models attempt to utilize multiple,
possibly geographically distributed, data sources as their inputs.
The solution will facilitate a single, standardized query to a middle-layer
system (IDACT), which will automatically handle the tasks of data
retrieval and conversion from multiple data sources. IDACT will
also utilize intelligent hybrid Petri-net technology for real-time
scheduling of analysis and model runs, based on the availability
of data and the desired completion deadlines, ensuring that the
hardware is utilized as efficiently as possible while providing
model inputs in a timely manner. In addition, it will contribute
to a middle-ware data archive thus minimizing recalculation and
retransformation of identified datasets. The benefits of this approach
to the scientist and modeler include seamless autonomous data collection,
data system operation, and management of heterogeneous entities
in support of scientific analysis and modeling, thus reducing the
associated operational time and costs. This project will be conducted
using an open-source approach, and all developments will be distributed
under the GNU Public License (GPL).

Proposal Number AIST-02-0183 (Panel 3)
Title Mission Automation for A Train” Correlative
Measurements Using the Earth Phenomena Observing Systems (EPOS)”
PI Stephan E. Kolitz
Draper will utilize its optimization-based,
hierarchical, real-time mission planning and control technology
to increase the value of science data gathered by NASA s EOS (Earth
Observing System) through optimized allocation of sensor, data,
communication, and ground processing resources. Our technology will
enable the rapid development of optimized tasking plans for taskable
sensors, e.g., TES on Aura. The results of the proposed effort will
be useful in the development of innovative concepts of operations
for current confederations of satellites, such as the A Train and
the Morning Constellation, as well as in the development of revolutionary
concepts of operations for future confederations. We will enhance
and extend EPOS, developed under the current AIST contract, from
its current TRL 3 to TRL 4 in the proposed two-year effort, and
to TRL 5 in the option year. Optimization-based plan generation,
closed-loop planning and control, and hierarchical decomposition
characterize the technology. We will use data from MODIS on Terra
to cue the pointing of TES on Aura. The Cloud Mask produced from
Terra s MODIS data will be utilized to generate the value function
used in the optimization-based planning for tasking TES to maximize
science value, i.e., TES will be tasked to point at high-value locations
of interest that are not covered with clouds. In addition, we will
combine the MODIS Cloud Mask with a cloud mask generated from GEOS-8
data for further improvement in the forecast of cloud cover, which
will subsequently improve the value of the science data that results
from observations by TES.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0191 (Panel 3)
Title Realtime-Reconfigurable Distributed-Computing
for Adaptive Science Operations in Satellite Formations using Heterogeneous
CPUs & Heterogeneous Connectivity
PI Eric Alan Byler
Formation Computing Environment
(FCE) is an algorithmically-reconfigurable, distributed processing
environment enabling automated operation of distributed sensors.
FCE enables mission automation of clusters, formations, and distributed
sensing systems providing simple, low-cost distributed aperture
formations. Satellite formations are key elements of Earth Science
Enterprises’ Strategic Plan in support of Space and Earth Sciences
Vision 2010. Implementation of FCE will enable a new class of instruments
supporting future ESE science applications including Bi-directional
Reflectance Distribution Measurements, CME/Magnetospheric Imaging
Radio Arrays, Synthetic Aperture Radars, and related distributed
measurement constellations. A satellite-formation middleware tool
suite containing adaptive network agents and support services for
heterogeneous computing environments will be developed and tested
on three different pre-existing hardware configurations. The key
objective is algorithmically re-configurable distributed processing
for use on heterogeneous clusters of autonomous multi-sensor spacecraft.
The agents respond to requests for instrument reconfiguration, fault
management, calibration updates, and real-time events to coordinate
formation re-pointing, allocation of computing resources, and data
storage rates. We will develop a single, integrated solution for
all formation operations, allowing scientists to operate a distributed
aperture sensor or cluster as a single instrument. The solution
includes validated agents for a range of local communications systems,
providing formation designers with flexibility to design for cost
and performance without affecting integration schedules or software
development. FCE development will occur in an integrated, six-spacecraft
formation mission test-bed for realistic formation interactions.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0240 (Panel 3)
Title Planning and scheduling of coordinated
science observations
PI Robert Morris
The scientific need for multiple
sources of earth science data in order to explain complex phenomena
will require coordination in instrument scheduling and operations.
NASA is developing mission and instrument operations concepts to
meet the challenges of managing numerous EOS spacecraft. Nonetheless,
there is currently little planning infrastructure to enable the
coordination of observations for Earth observing satellites. At
the present time, coordination is done between distinct missions
with their own mission operations centers. Each of these missions
builds their own schedules, and coordination is done manually. To
meet the imminent challenges in coordinated science planning for
future EOS missions, a team comprised of experts in planning technology,
systems integration and engineering, earth science, and mission
operations is required. Such a team has been assembled for the proposed
project. We propose to develop both a set of technology concepts
and a prototype system based on these concepts that will address
problems in coordinated scheduling while acknowledging the realities
of present day mission design concepts. More specifically, two major
tasks will be undertaken. The first task involves defining and solving
problems of constellation coordination using advances in automated
planning technology. We propose to design algorithms that can be
used to integrate new observation requests with an EOS constellation’s
existing operations plan. The second task is an integration of science
observation scheduling technology developed at NASA Ames with the
Automated Mission Planning and Scheduling (AMPS) system, developed
at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for use with EOS missions involving
either single or multiple satellites. The final products of this
two year effort will be, first, a technology plan for coordinated
science planning for multiple missions, and second, an enhanced
automated tool for coordinated science planning that can form the
basis for infusion into future EOS missions.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0036 (Panel 4)
Title Implementing an efficient supercomputer-based
Grid Compute Engine for end-to-end operation of a high-resolution,
high data-volume terrestrial carbon cycle model.
PI Peter E Thornton
We propose to implement an existing
and much-used model of the terrestrial carbon cycle as a high-resolution,
high data-volume Grid Compute enabled system, demonstrating end-to-end
functionality in a parallel supercomputing environment. The purpose
of this system is to automate the location, retrieval, and translation
of input model driver data, and provide a flexible and convenient
high-throughput control and execution platform for large model simulations,
analyses, and visualizations. The system will consist of five functional
components integrated by a single software framework allowing remote
user control and inteaction. The five components are: 1)An interpolation
engine that acquires surface weather observations and produces high-resolution
gridded output; 2)A state-of-the-art model of terrestrial biogeochemical
cycles that acquires gridded surface weather fields, performs a
user-defined sequence of simulations and produces a multi-dimensional
output dataset; 3)A post-processing analysis and evaluation engine
that integrates model output with data from existing operational
remote sensing, flux network, and global coupled model data streams,
producing a user-defined set of model summaries and evaluations;
4)A visualization engine that acquires products from all other components
and produces a user-defined array of static and dynamic visualizations
to assist in model development, interpretation of results, and transfer
of knowledge to broad audiences; 5)A mass storage system with high
speed bidirectional connection to the computational engines and
their input and output data. Our goal is to provide a powerful parallel
implementation of a state-of-the-art simulation package as an end-to-end
solution for carbon cycle research and model development, without
requiring on-site access to all (or any) of the necessary hardware
and data components.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0053 (Panel 4)
Title Complexity Computational Environments:
Data Assimilation SERVO Grid
PI Andrea Donnellan
We will use Web (Grid) service
technology to demonstrate the assimilation of multiple distributed
data sources (a typical data grid problem) into a major parallel
high-performance computing earthquake forecasting code. Such a linkage
of Geoinformatics with Geocomplexity would demonstrate the value
of the SERVO Grid concept, and advance Grid technology by building
the first real-time large-scale data assimilation grid. It demonstrates
the data assimilation component of the envisioned problem solving
environment where it will integrate best practice including that
of Goddard’s DAO group with Grid technology and adapt it for solid
earth applications. It exploits the current CT effort in Active
Tectonics by building on interoperability framework and parallel
codes being developed in this project. Note that our project differs
from current datagrid activities such as those in particle physics
and the astronomical virtual observatory where the simulations are
not large scale tightly coupled parallel codes. In the recent ESTO
computational technology workshop, the solid earth community identified
some key-unifying infrastructure that would benefit the field. Here
we develop the next steps for both the Solid Earth Research Virtual
Observatory (SERVO) concept and the identified need for a Solid
Earth problem-solving environment. We use a challenging motivating
problem of importance to NASA namely integrating NASA space geodetic
observations with numerical simulations of a changing earth.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0071 (Panel 4)
Title Merging the NetCDF and HDF5 Libraries
to Achieve Gains in Performance and Interoperability
PI Russell Keith Rew
The proposal will merge Unidata’s
netCDF and NCSA’s HDF5, two widely-used scientific data access libraries.
Users of netCDF in numerical models will benefit from support for
packed data, larger datasets, and parallel I/O, all of which are
available with HDF5. Users of HDF5 will benefit from the availability
of a simpler high-level interface suitable for array-oriented scientific
data, wider use of the HDF5 data format, and the wealth of netCDF
software for data management, analysis and visualization that has
evolved among the large netCDF user community. The overall goal
of this collaborative development project is to create and deploy
software that will preserve the desirable common characteristics
of netCDF and HDF5 while taking advantage of their separate strengths:
the widespread use and simplicity of netCDF and the generality and
performance of HDF5. To achieve this goal, Unidata and NCSA will
collaborate to create netCDF-4, using HDF5 as its storage layer.
Using netCDF-4 in advanced Earth science modeling efforts will demonstrate
its effectiveness. The success of this project will facilitate open
and free technologies that support scientific data storage, exchange,
access, analysis, discovery, and visualization. The technology resulting
from the netCDF-4/HDF5 merger will benefit users of Earth science
data and promote cross-disciplinary research through the provision
of better facilities for combining, synthesizing, aggregating, and
analyzing datasets from disparate sources to make them more accessible.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0133 (Panel 4)
Title Coupling High Resolution Earth System
Models Using Advanced Computational Technologies
PI Christa D Peters-Lidard
The primary objective of the
work is to apply advanced computational technologies to the problem
of coupling high-resolution (e.g., 1 km, or cloud-scale) Earth system
models. Specifically, we propose to combine the emerging technologies
of the Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF) and the Land Information
System (LIS) to couple complex Earth system model components, including
the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) and the Goddard
Cumulus Ensemble (GCE) model to state-of-the-art land surface models
including the Community Land Model (CLM) and the NOAH Land Surface
Model, which are already part of the Land Information System. The
technologies to be advanced and applied in this work include 1)
support for parallel computing architectures (via MPI on the LIS
Beowulf cluster); and 2) support for distributed data access, transport,
translation, mining and conversion (via the Grid Analysis and Display
System/Distributed Oceanographic Data System (GrADS/DODS) server
and the ESMF). Both technologies are currently being demonstrated
in the LIS for the problem of uncoupled land surface modeling, and
this proposal seeks to further their technological readiness levels
by applying them to the problem of high-resolution coupled modeling.
These technologies are critical to advance ESE science and prediction
goals, in which geographically distributed databases may hold petabytes
of Earth system observations needed for high-resolution modeling
and data assimilation to understand and predict water, energy, and
carbon cycles. Accomplishments of prior work. The PI has significant
experience in the application of advanced computational technologies
to land surface modeling. Since 1996, Dr. Peters-Lidard has been
collaborating with colleagues at the North Carolina Supercomputing
Center to develop a high spatial resolution land surface model for
numerical weather prediction and air quality applications (
The PI has experience coupling a land surface model to a meteorological
model using an Input/Output Applications Programming Interface (I/O
API) designed to facilitate multiscale, distributed, parallel environmental
computing. As part of this work, a hundred-fold reduction in CPU,
RAM, and disk space requirements has been achieved. The PI and Co-I
Houser are currently leading the ESTO/CT LIS project, whose TRL3
technologies will be advanced and applied in the currently proposed
project. In addition to the LIS project, Co-I Houser is a pioneer
in the development of Land Data Assimilation Systems (LDAS) and
the CLM model. Co-I Tao has over 25 years of experience developing
and improving (microphysics, cloud-radiation, advection, surface
processes) non-hydrostatic atmospheric models, including over 110
publications. Dr. Tao is a member of the WRF science steering team
and the lead developer of the Goddard Cumulus Ensemble (GCE) model.
Outline of proposed work and methodology. The proposed work will
proceed according to well-defined milestones in order to apply and
advance the LIS TRL3 technologies to TRL5. The first phase of the
project will focus on coupling the LIS to the WRF and GCE models
using parallel techniques with the ESMF framework for timing, gridding
and control and the GrADS/DODS server for distributed data access
and mining. The second phase of the project will focus on the evaluation
of these systems for the case study of the International H2O Project
(IHOP) field campaign, including performance tuning. In the Earth
system modeling arena, this will represent an advancement to TRL4,
since this field campaign is a ”natural laboratory”, which will
allow thorough evaluation of the technologies. The third phase of
the work will focus on expanding the application to regional and
continental scales in order to advance the technology to TRL5, which
is representative of a typical application environment.

Proposal Number AIST-02-0160 (Panel 4)
Title Integration of OGC and Grid Technologies
for Earth Science Modeling and Applications
PI Liping Di
We propose to integrate OGC
and Grid technologies for making NASA EOSDIS data easily accessible
to Earth science modeling and applications communities. OGC web
service technology is developed for providing interoperable access
and services of geospatial data. The built-in OGC geospatial services
include subsetting, resampling, georectification, reprojection,
reformatting, and visualization. GRID technology is developed for
sharing data, storage, and computational powers of high-end computing
within a virtual organization. The integration of the two technologies
will make GRID technology geospatial enable and OGC standard compliant
and make OGC technology GRID enable. The integration will allow
researchers to focus on science and not issues with data receipt,
format, and data set manipulation. The power of the integration
will be demonstrated in NASA EOSDIS Data Pools, which host peta-bytes
of data on-line, to show the huge volumes of EOS data can be easily
accessible by Earth sciences models and applications in ready-to-analyze
forms through OGC interfaces supported by the Grid technology at
the backend. This project is built upon results of our previous
and current projects, including OGC compliant NASA HDF_EOS Web GIS
Software Suite (NWGISS) and CEOS Grid testbed (Di), Globus and NASA
Information Power Grid (IPG) (Johnston), and DOE’s Earth System
Grid (ESG) (Williams).