NASA commissions a platform for shared computational modeling

You might call this a cloud platform for modeling clouds. NASA is awarding a $600,000 contract to develop a platform that will allow engineers and scientists to execute computational modeling from a browser. The contractor is Parabon Computation Inc., a ten-year old DC-area company that focuses on computational analysis for distributed systems, especially grids.

The new contract is part of NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project, which awards technology projects to companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Parabon will develop a Modeling and Simulation as a Service (M&SaaS) solution that can will provide Web-based Platform as a Service tools. Developers can then use these tools — including a source code editor, online collaboration utilities, and virtualized build and runtime environment management interfaces — to create high-performance computing (HPC) applications. The cloud architecture will simplify the job of opening the platform to researchers around the world. NASA partners will have access.

According to Michael Feldman at HPCwire Editor, the first application is expected to be climate modeling, but any application that can benefit from distributed computation, scientific or otherwise, is possible.

Mike Seablom of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said the “M&SaaS has the potential to revolutionize how scientific software is designed, developed, deployed and used. The fact that this solution is accessible from the browser means anyone anywhere will be able to help contribute to our understanding of Earth system science.”

Parabon expects to be able to find applications for the platform through its ISV partner network.

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