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A Solar System Problem Solving Environment

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61 Pages | chapter 1-5 | PDF and Microsoft Format

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A Solar System Problem Solving Environment

Summary/abstract
The aim of this project was to build and demonstrate a problem solving environment that exhibits computational steering. The system was built using IRIS Explorer and visualized a simulation of our
solar system and allowed users to change parameters of the simulation as it executed, thus steering the
simulation.
The project aim was realised by the completion of the minimum requirements and some of the further
enhancements that were established at the beginning of the project. Research was carried out into visualization, problem solving environments and computational steering for the author to gain a good
understanding of the problem’s fundamental concepts. Initial design determined the user requirements
for the system. A series of prototypes were designed, implemented and tested, each of which targeted
a different set of user requirements. The system produced was evaluated against a certain set of criteria, conclusions were drawn and further work was suggested.

Contents
1. Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………… 1
1.1 Project aim …………………………………………………………………………… 1
1.2 Project objectives ……………………………………………………………………. 1
1.3 Minimum requirements………………………………………………………………. 2
1.4 Further enhancements ……………………………………………………………….. 2
1.5 Deliverables …………………………………………………………………………. 2
1.6 Project schedule ……………………………………………………………………… 3
1.7 Schedule revisions …………………………………………………………………… 4
2. Visualization, Problem Solving Environments & Computational Steering ……………… 5
2.1 Visualization ………………………………………………………………………… 5
2.1.1 Visualization tools’ market ……………………………………………….. 6
2.2 Problem solving environments ………………………………………………………. 6
2.2.1 Problem solving environments in computational science ………………… 7
2.2.2 PSE projects & applications ………………………………………………. 7
2.2.3 PSE architecture …………………………………………………………… 9
2.3 Computational steering ……………………………………………………………… 10
2.3.1 Computational steering in computational science ………………………… 10
2.3.2 Computational steering projects & applications …………………………… 10
3. IRIS Explorer ………………………………………………………………………………… 13
3.1 Overview …………………………………………………………………………….. 13
3.2 IECOE ……………………………………………………………………………….. 13
3.3 Using IRIS Explorer …………………………………………………………………. 14
3.3.1 A beginner’s example map ………………………………………………… 15
3.3.2 Module connections ……………………………………………………….. 16
3.3.3 Module makeup …………………………………………………………… 16
3.3.4 Data types …………………………………………………………………. 17
3.4 The lattice ……………………………………………………………………………. 17
3.4.1 The IRIS Explorer lattice data type ……………………………………….. 18
IV
3.4.1.1 Interaction of the lattice variables ……………………………… 19
3.4.2 Lattice manipulation ………………………………………………………. 19
3.4.2.1 Storing data values ……………………………………………… 19
3.4.2.2 Primitive data types …………………………………………….. 21
3.4.2.3 Storing coordinate values ………………………………………. 21
3.4.3 Curvilinear lattices ………………………………………………………… 21
3.4.4 IRIS Explorer reference pages …………………………………………….. 22
4. Design and Implementation …………………………………………………………………. 23
4.1 Methodology ………………………………………………………………………… 23
4.2 User requirements …………………………………………………………………… 23
4.3 System specification …………………………………………………………………. 24
4.4 Module Builder ………………………………………………………………………. 25
4.4.1 Overview ………………………………………………………………….. 25
4.4.2 User function ……………………………………………………………… 26
4.4.3 Programming language ……………………………………………………. 26
4.5 Initial design …………………………………………………………………………. 26
4.5.1 System architecture ……………………………………………………….. 26
4.5.2 Filter stage: the simulation module ………………………………………… 27
4.5.2.1 Visualizing the solar system ……………………………………. 27
4.5.2.2 Which type to lattice to use? …………………………………… 27
4.5.3 Mapping stage: the particles module ……………………………………… 28
4.5.4 Render stage: the render module ………………………………………….. 29
4.6 Prototyping …………………………………………………………………………… 29
4.7 Prototype 1 …………………………………………………………………………… 29
4.7.1 Overview ………………………………………………………………….. 29
4.7.2 Simulation module design ………………………………………………… 30
4.7.2.1 The user function …………………………………………………
30
4.8 Prototype 2 …………………………………………………………………………… 32
4.8.1 Overview …………………………………………………………………… 32
4.8.2 Simulation module design ………………………………………………… 33
4.8.2.1 The user function ……………………………………………….. 33
4.9 Prototype 3 …………………………………………………………………………… 34
4.9.1 Overview ………………………………………………………………….. 34
4.9.2 Simulation module design ………………………………………………… 35
4.10 Prototype 4 ………………………………………………………………………….. 35
V
4.10.1 Overview ………………………………………………………………… 35
4.10.2 Modifications to particles module ………………………………………. 36
4.11 Prototype 5 …………………………………………………………………………. 37
4.11.1 Overview ………………………………………………………………… 37
4.11.2 Simulation module design ……………………………………………….. 37
4.11.2.1 The user function ……………………………………………… 38
4.11.2.2 The simulation code ……………………………………………39
4.11.2.3 Modifications to lattice structure ……………………………… 39
4.11.2.4 Getting data into the user function ……………………………. 39
4.11.2.5 Setting the widget values ……………………………………… 40
4.12 Prototype 6 …………………………………………………………………………. 40
4.12.1 Overview ………………………………………………………………… 40
4.12.2 Simulation module design ……………………………………………….. 40
4.12.3 Modifications to particles module ……………………………………….. 41
4.12.4 Enhancing the simulation ………………………………………………… 42
4.12.5 Feedback …………………………………………………………………. 43
4.13 Testing the software ………………………………………………………………… 43
4.14 Using the software ………………………………………………………………….. 43
5. Evaluation ……………………………………………………………………………………. 44
5.1 System evaluation criteria …………………………………………………………… 44
5.1.1 Were the user requirements of the system satisfied? ……………………… 45
5.1.2 Was computational steering demonstrated? ………………………………. 46
5.1.3 How suitable was the methodology used to produce the system? ………… 47
5.1.4 How effective was the choice of visualization tool? ……………………… 47
5.1.5 Evaluation summary ………………………………………………………. 48
5.2 Were the minimum requirements of the project met? ……………………………….. 48
5.3 Were any further enhancements met? ……………………………………………….. 49
5.4 Conclusions and further work ………………………………………………………… 49
References ………………………………………………………………………………………… 51
Appendix A – Personal Reflection ………………………………………………………………. 54
Appendix B ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 55
Appendix C ………………………………………………………………………………………..

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