December 07, 2009
ASSIST framework helps decision-makers monitor, understand and protect the environment
Dec. 7 -- The research begins with a simple question: What do we know about the environment, and how do we know it?
"We can't observe everywhere at all times," says Patrick Reed, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Pennsylvania State University. "Given that, what should we observe? What is critical for us to understand? Where and when should we put our investments in sensors and sampling?"
For more than a decade, Reed has endeavored to answer these questions with a mix of computational and experimental approaches. His achievements merited him a National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award, and have led to a computational framework that not only captures the critical details of environmental systems, but is able to evolve and adapt as new sensors, measurements and models are introduced, improving the state-of-the-art in long-term environmental monitoring and forecasting.
"Despite the long history of using observations of the natural world in our management frameworks, our approach to environmental monitoring is largely ad hoc," Reed said. "We don't have a very good understanding of how to design or adapt our long-term monitoring efforts. This is a fundamental problem."
Over the past year, Reed has been using the Ranger supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to test this novel environmental sampling and computational framework on a variety of test problems, from pollutant dispersal to water resource management. The results point the way to a new means of understanding and protecting the environment.
For the rest of the story, go to http://www.tacc.utexas.edu/news/feature-stories/2009/turning-environmental-information-into-action/.
Source: Aaron Dubrow, Texas Advanced Computing Center
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