An Extensible Python User Environment

martencrushInternet and Web Development

Dec 8, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)


An Extensible Python User Environment

Jeff Daily Karen Schuchardt, PI Todd Elsethagen Jared Chase H41G



The research reported here is supported by
the U.S. Department of Energy through
“Process Integration, Data Management, and
Visualization for Subsurface Sciences,”
Scientific Discovery through Advanced
Computing (SciDAC)

About Pacific Northwest
National Laboratory

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,
located in southeastern Washington State, is
a U.S. Department of Energy Office of
Science laboratory that solves complex
problems in energy, national security and the
environment, and advances scientific frontiers
in the chemical, biological, materials,
environmental and computational sciences.
The Laboratory employs 4,000 staff
members, has a $760 million annual budget,
and has been managed by Ohio
Battelle since 1965.

For more information about the science you
see here, please contact:

Jeff Daily

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

P.O. Box 999, MS K7

Richland, WA 99354

(509) 372



The Support Architecture for Large
Scale Subsurface Analysis (SALSSA)
provides a sophisticated graphical user interface (GUI) and the underlying
data management framework enabling scientists to efficiently set up
groundwater simulation models and store, retrieve, and analyze the
rapidly growing volumes of data produced by their research.

Our SALSSA Organizer integrates everything seen here and runs on any
modern platform such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Front to back:

Visualization of pore
scale fluid flow computed
using the parallel Smoothed Particle
Hydrodynamics code developed under the
Numerical Methods for Multiscale Simulations
of Subsurface Biogeochemical Processes

project. Colors represent local fluid velocity.
Visualization created by Kwan
Liu Ma and Chad
Jones of the Institute for Ultra
Scale Visualization,
University of California at Davis.


output from a calcite precipitation

A custom GUI visualizing a STOMP input grid.

Provenance Tracking and Data Management

Keeps track of everything a user does without
burdening them with where to store their data.

Job Launching

Concurrent jobs to multiple machines, load balancing,
and real
time updates all with the push of a button.

Process Integration

Seamless end
end synergy of computational models and desktop tools.

All processes known to our environment are organized
into a task tree with user
specified category labels

Tasks may include multiple simulation models, input file
generators, text editors, visualization tools, etc.

Additional tasks are added by editing our text
registry or through auto

Visualization tools are registered just like any other task and can be
desktop tools like Tecplot

or those requiring a supercomputer to produce

Users can begin new tasks
by double
clicking on their data
items or within the task tree

Unknown data items can be
automatically registered or new
tasks can be browsed for within
user’s desktop by our “Open
With” dialog

in custom wxPython GUIs to allow
complex processing or visualization

Visualize provenance using an interactive graph

Submits remote jobs to UNIX and Linux
workstations, Linux clusters, and supercomputers

Launches multiple jobs concurrently, to multiple

Monitors remote job progress with the option to

Generates boilerplate text for job submission
scripts which can be customized on a per
task basis

Computational Models


a general
purpose tool for
simulating subsurface flow
and transport

Smoothed Particle
Hydrodynamics (SPH):

a Lagrangian particle method
for solving systems of partial
differential equations

Our user environment
enables the integration of
these two models.


Although we support the STOMP and SPH codes
directly, we have developed a general user
environment than can be applied to any
application domain.

We have enjoyed using Python to implement our
software. It is great for Rapid Application
Development since there is no need to compile it and
it has clear, intuitive syntax. It is inherently cross
platform and is Free and Open Source. However, it
has its limitations. Errors that are typically caught by
compilers in other languages become runtime errors
with Python. Its support of the Web Service stack is
limiting. Lastly, it doesn’t integrate well with
languages besides C/C++ and FORTRAN.

Future Work

Graphical timeline view

Registration wizard

Reduce graph complexity

Integration with archival storage systems to
support large datasets

Automation of non
interactive task sequences

level wizards for executing common task

Add annotations to your tasks
and mouse over them in the
graph to display them

Automatically transfers all
inputs for staging to remote
workstations and then stores
outputs back to the Alfresco
Content Management System

Stores metadata as Resource Description
Framework triples in OpenRDF using Open
Provenance Model semantics