Data analysis, assessment and visualization is a key component of the ARL DoD Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC). Along with high performance computers, advanced networking, and staff infrastructure, data analysis and visualization provides a methodology to explore, define, and present the results of computations from HPC systems. The ARL Data Analysis & Assessment Center (DAAC) develops, maintains and supports robust client-server based applications that enables computational scientists to fully utilize the power of the DoD HPCMP resources from their desktop as a natural and intuitive part of their analysis effort. ARL DAAC team members work directly with customers to provide guidance and assistance with the use of application software and develop custom applications and animations in support of unique customer requests.
On June 18, 1991, a Scientific Visualization Team was formally created within the Army Research Laboratory, High Performance Computing Division. Over the course of the past twenty years, the group dynamics and research initiatives have changed many times, however the focus has always been on researching, developing and delivering leading edge hardware and software tools to the customer. Today, the ARL DAAC staff includes members from both the ARL Computational Sciences Division, Computing Architectures Branch and Lockheed-Martin through the High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP). The availability of a knowledgeable staff, mature production-quality application software and HPCMP computational resources positions the DAAC to have a greater impact on ARL and DoD HPC customers than it has ever has before.
This group is tasked to:
- Develop new techniques for exploiting high-performance computing technology
- Promote the use of data analysis and visualization within ARL and the DoD
- Provide stable, production-quality analysis applications and computing environments
- Develop and distribute visual analysis applications to critical HPCMP resources
- Serve as a focal point to compile visualization work for use in promoting the DoD
Working in conjunction with researchers within ARL, other DOD facilities, national laboratories, and commercial partners, the ARL DAAC has accomplished works in virtually all of the major Computational Technology Areas (CTAs). The team has numerous initiatives that extend the boundaries of visualization to include the exploitation of HPC resources and technology, both locally developed and supported through various technology programs.
What is data analysis?
Data analysis is an evolving technology that allows scientists to understand and interpret the meaning of large, transient datasets in a visual form. Through the use of multi-dimensional, animated depictions of their data, researchers are able to extrude and analyze previously unobservable information. Most frequently, visual analysis investigates the results of gridded numerical computations, however non-geometric calculations and experimental data can also produce these animations. Sharing these results through small group shared experiences, or by presentations to a larger audience provide motivation for the development of a variety of display technologies, including research initiatives in a variety of hardware and software technologies.
Data analysis serves two purposes: first, to help scientists and engineers solve problems and, second, to explain and promote a particular science to a wide audience. The graphics used in these two cases often differ. Scientists and engineers require detailed examination of the data, the results of which may not be intuitively obvious to a general audience. Results that are presented to a general audience must be easily understood and interpreted.