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Brian Blanton discussed “Advanced Visualization for Real-Time Storm Surge Predictions.” He presented on APSViz, a visualization tool built for the ADCIRC Prediction System, which provides real-time storm surge and wave predictions for the eastern US and Gulf of Mexico coasts. The biggest challenge presented to Blanton’s team as they developed this tool is that real-time requirements impose tight scheduling and delivery constraints of information needed for real-time decision-making during hazardous events such as hurricanes. The tool must provide fast computations of model predictions and products, a robust computational and processing infrastructure, and be available online at any time. The team uses an advanced cyberinfrastructure approach to coordinate and schedule data acquisition and layer generation between ADCRIC and APSViz. This “DataEngine” is managed by Kubernetes to orchestrate workflow and quickly deploy to Amazon EKS for rapidly scaling resources if needed. It uses GeoServer to deliver core geospatial information to the website. An AMQP called RabbitMQ allows the different containers and parts of the process to communicate. At the end of his talk, Blanton clarified that this data engine layer is the “data science behind the data science,” emphasizing that this advanced data science infrastructure is necessary to build now to eventually provide users with the ability to use embedded machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to make predictions on the website. Click here to view the talk on YouTube.


Brian Blanton, Director of Earth Data Sciences

Department: Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at UNC-CH | Faculty Profile

Featured on: October 27, 2022 (Event Page)

Session Title: Unearthing Environmental Impact (Event Recap

Tools, Information, and Resources:

  • ADCIRC: ADCIRC is a system of computer programs for solving time dependent, free surface circulation and transport problems in two and three dimensions. These programs utilize the finite element method in space allowing the use of highly flexible, unstructured grids. ADCIRC is currently available for government and academic research, but not for commercial applications.
  • Kubernetes: Kubernetes, also known as K8s, is an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications.
  • GeoServer: GeoServer is an open source server for sharing geospatial data. Designed for interoperability, it publishes data from any major spatial data source using open standards.
  • RabbitMQ: RabbitMQ is the most widely deployed open source message broker.
  • Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS): Amazon EKS is a managed Kubernetes service to run Kubernetes in the AWS cloud and on-premises data centers.
  • THREDDS Data Server: The goal of Unidata's Thematic Real-time Environmental Distributed Data Services (THREDDS) is to provide students, educators and researchers with coherent access to a large collection of real-time and archived datasets from a variety of environmental data sources at a number of distributed server sites. The THREDDS Data Server (TDS) is a web server that provides metadata and data access for scientific datasets, using a variety of remote data access protocols.
  • PostgreSQL: PostgreSQL is a powerful, open source object-relational database system with over 35 years of active development that has earned it a strong reputation for reliability, feature robustness, and performance.
  • TimescaleDB: TimescaleDB extends PostgreSQL for time-series data—giving PostgreSQL the high-performance, scalability, and analytical capabilities required by modern data-intensive applications.