We have created a number of online software systems to meet the needs of the nuclear physics and astrophysics communities; see (click on) the figure on the right. By developing custom data processing, management, sharing, and visualization tools, these systems significantly expand the utilization of standardized nuclear databases by the nuclear physics and astrophysics communities. A number of these tools have possible widespread utilization throughout the broader nuclear data and nuclear science communities. All of our tools are "cloud computing" systems, where Users run applications and manage files on a remote server -- they only need an internet connection to access this system. The advantage of this approach is that they never have to install software, worry about compability issues, download patches, or worry about data storage or security. Our first system, the Computational Infrastructure for Nuclear Astrophysics, came online at nucastrodata.org in 2004 and now has users in over 130 institutions in 30 countries. This system enables users to upload, modify, share, compare, and visualize information of three different types -- nuclear cross sections, thermonuclear reaction rates, and nucleosynthesis simulations. Since then, we have launched the "Nuclear Masses Toolkit" at nuclearmasses.org, a suite specialized for the community that uses nuclear masses for their research. This system is unique in that it enables Users to upload, manage, modify, share, compare, and visualize three different types of masses: experimental, evaluated, and theoretical. We also launched bigbangonline.org, enabling users to run customized simulations of element creation in the early universe, and to compare predictions with observations to constrain cosmological parameters. Our most recent suite is isotopes.gov, the site for the National Isotopes Development Center that manages and distributes the isotopes produced by the U.S. Government for basic research and a wide variety of societal applications.
One of the strongest motivations for our systems has been to enable the research community to quickly share customized information in an "online community". We developed three "data spaces" in each system: a "Public" space which hosts data that is published, archived, or for other reasons will remain unchanged; a "User" space which hosts a User's private data; and a "Shared" space which is open to all. This innovation enables Users to upload, modify, and utilize some of their own data sets in private -- including their own custom modifications of "Public" data sets -- and then move them into the "Shared" space to quickly enable collaborative work with colleagues without resorting to email, ftp, or other time-consuming file upload/download systems. For example, at nuclearmasses.org, researchers can upload their own mass datasets, store them, share them with colleagues, and quickly and easily visualize them in customizable one- and two-dimensional plots. Mass dataset analysis tools are also available, enabling the average RMS differences between a reference dataset and numerous other sets to be determined, and these RMS differences can then be displayed as functions of Z, N, or A. We have recently added the capability to visualize the two-neutron separation energy surface. Similar functionality is online for cross sections, reaction rates, and simulations within the Computational Infrastructure for Nuclear Astrophysics online at nucastrodata.org, and for early universe simulations at bigbangonline.org.
Our systems are platform-independent client-server systems --
you only need an internet connection and have JAVA installed on your local
(client) computer to use our systems. You can log on as a Guest and use
our systems with some limits on functionality -- primarily, you cannot save
files or write to our disk as a Guest. Registration is free, and once
registered you get a disk allocation and can save and share files with
our online community. Our user interfaces are simple -- see the tutorials
below to get started exploring our systems. We break down complex tasks into
a series of steps, each one simple, self-contained, and fast -- for example,
choosing a particular input nuclear data set or choosing a simulation type to
run. We have modified our interfaces based on comments from our Users, and
are continually adding new features at their request.
One new aspect to our work involves adding analysis tools to our online suites to let Users do more than just visualize their datasets. For example, at nuclearmasses.org, Users can quickly compare the RMS deviations of a range of different mass datasets from one chosen set (such as the AME2003 evaluated masses) over a custom chosen set of common nuclei. Another example is our tools to perform customized searches through simulations to find waiting point nuclei and bottleneck reactions in nova and X-ray burst simulations with the Computational Infrastructure for Nuclear Astrophysics.
A second new aspect: in 2010, we formally introduced the concept of "Cloud Computing" to the nuclear data community at the International Symposium on Nuclear Data for Science and Technology (ND2010) in South Korea, and also launched the "Nuclear Data Cloud Computing Consortium". We feel that running software systems online provides an unmatched degree of convenience, customization, and productivity gains for the research community. there is indeed a bright future for cloud computing systems in the fields of nuclear science and astrophysics.
"Nuclear Data for Astrophysics Research: A New Online Paradigm",
M.S. Smith, Proc. Int. Conf. Nuclear Data for Science and Technology 2010,
J. Korean Physical Society 59 (2011) 761
"Bottlenecks and Waiting Points in Nucleosynthesis in X-ray bursts and Novae", Michael S. Smith, Tomomi Sunayama, W. Raphael Hix, Eric J. Lingerfelt, and Caroline D. Nesaraja, Proc. Int. Symp. Origin Matter Evolution Galaxies 2010, AIP Conf. Proc. 1269 (2010) 439
"Nuclear Mass Visualization and Analysis at nuclearmasses.org", Michael S. Smith, Eric J. Lingerfelt, Caroline D. Nesaraja, Hiroyuki Koura, Filip G. Kondev, Proc. Int. Symp. Origin Matter Evolution Galaxies 2010, AIP Conf. Proc. 1269 (2010) 442
"Nuclear data for astrophysics: resources, challenges, strategies, and software solutions", M.S. Smith, Proc. Int. Conf. Nuclear Data for Science and Technology, EDP Sciences (2008), p. 1319
"Big Bang Nucleosynthesis: Impact of Nuclear Physics Uncertainties on Baryonic Matter Density Constraints", M. S. Smith, B.D. Bruner, R.L. Kozub, L.F. Roberts, D. Tytler, G.M. Fuller, E. J. Lingerfelt, W. R. Hix, C.D. Nesaraja, Proc. Int. Symp. Origin Matter Evolution Galaxies 2007, AIP Conf. Proc. 1016 (2008) 403
"Waiting Points and Bottlenecks in Nova and X-ray burst Nucleosynthesis", Tomomi Sunayama, Michael S. Smith, Eric J. Lingerfelt, Kim Buckner, W. Raphael Hix, and Caroline D. Nesaraja, Proc. Int. Symp. Origin Matter Evolution Galaxies 2007, AIP Conf. Proc. 1016 (2008) 415
"Thermonuclear Reaction Rate Libraries and Software Tools for Nuclear Astrophysics Research", Michael S. Smith, Richard Cyburt, Hendrik Schatz, Michael Wiescher, Karl Smith, Scot Warren, Ryan Ferguson, Eric J. Lingerfelt, Kim Buckner, and Caroline D. Nesaraja, Proc. Int. Symp. Origin Matter Evolution Galaxies 2007, AIP Conf. Proc. 1016 (2008) 466
"New Features in the Computational Infrastructure for Nuclear Astrophysics", M. Smith, E. J. Lingerfelt, J. P. Scott, C. D. Nesaraja, K. Chae, H. Koura, L. F. Roberts, W. R. Hix, D. W. Bardayan, J. C. Blackmon, Proc. Int. Symp. Nuclear Astrophysics - Nuclei in the Cosmos IX, Geneva, Switzerland, June 25-30, 2006, Proceedings of Science, Pos(NiC-IX) 179 (2006)
"Future of Nuclear Data for Nuclear Astrophysics Studies", M.S. Smith, Int. Conf. on Nuclear Data for Science and Technology (ND2004), Santa Fe, NM, Sept 26 - Oct 1, 2004, eds. R.C. Haight, M.B. Chadwick, T. Kawano, P. Talou, AIP Conf. Proc. 769 (2005) 1331
"New Evaluations and Computational Infrastructure for Management and Visualization of Nuclear Astrophysics Data", C.D.Nesaraja, M.S. Smith, R.A. Meyer, D.W. Bardayan, J.C. Blackmon, K. Chae, M.W. Guidry, W.R. Hix, R.L. Kozub, E.J. Lingerfelt, Z. Ma, J.P. Scott, International Conference on Nuclear Data for Science and Technology (ND2004), Santa Fe, NM, Sept 26 - Oct 1, 2004, eds. R.C. Haight, M.B. Chadwick, T. Kawano, P. Talou, AIP Conf. Proc. 769 (2005) 1378
For More Information
The following links will let you learn more about this topic: nucastrodata.org
Computational Infrastructure for Nuclear Astrophysics
Nuclear Mass Toolkit
National Isotopes Development Center - Isotopes.gov
Nuclear Data Cloud Computing Consortium (coming soon)
Michael Smith, smithms at ornl.gov