The Azimuth Project
Computational science



Wikipedia says:

is the field of study concerned with constructing mathematical models and quantitative analysis techniques and using computers to analyse and solve scientific problems. In practical use, it is typically the application of computer simulation and other forms of computation to problems in various scientific disciplines.

It is also different from theory and experiment which are the traditional forms of science and engineering. The scientific computing approach is to gain understanding, mainly through the analysis of mathematical models implemented on computers. Scientists and engineers develop computer programs, application software, that model systems being studied and run these programs with various sets of input parameters. Typically, these models require massive amounts of calculations (usually floating-point) and are often executed on supercomputers or distributed computing platforms. Numerical analysis is an important underpinning for techniques used in computational science.

We will collect information about methods, books , software packages and data sets for scientific computing, numerical analysis, visualization and simulation, that are targeted towards relevant research and engineering areas for the Azimuth project.


Here we try to assess, explore software packages from numerical analysis to computer algebra sytems (CAS). Also to ongoing change when the computer becomes a potential peer to data and theory in the different sciences, which happens all the in a minor or major scale in many discipline, but especially in inter-disciplinary sciences like environmental science.


Comparison of Computer Algebra systems and functionality

A comparison of numerical analysis packages

  • R is an excellent system focused on statistics, similar to S

A commonly used commercial software system is MATLAB:

with its open source companion

Finding Data sets

Survey and Bridging tools

  • Giovanni from NASA is a Web-based application developed by the GES DISC that provides a simple and intuitive way to visualize, analyze, and access vast amounts of Earth science remote sensing data without having to download the data. Giovanni is an acronym for the GES-DISC (Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center) Interactive Online Visualization ANd aNalysis Infrastructure.

  • Mirador is “an earth science data search tool developed at the GES DISC for our data users. It has a drastically simplified, clean interface and employs the Google mini appliance for metadata keyword searches. Other features include quick response, spatial and parameter subsetting, data file hit estimator, Gazetteer (geographic search by feature name capability), and an interactive shopping cart.”

Data sources

Real climate maintains a good list from data sources to data analysis. Here is a relevant subset for Azimuth:

Raw data sources
Processed data sources
Model (open source) code

NASA also maintains a more comprehensive global change master directory

Also see visualization, climate modeling and Azimuth code project.



Climate scientists build large, complex simulations with little or no software engineering training, and do not readily adopt the latest software engineering tools and techniques. In this paper, we describe an ethnographic study of the culture and practices of climate scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre. The study examined how the scientists think about software correctness, how they prioritize requirements, and how they develop a shared understanding of their models. The findings show that climate scientists have developed customized techniques for verification and validation that are tightly integrated into their approach to scientific research. Their software practices share many features of both agile and open source projects, in that they rely on self-organisation of the teams, extensive use of informal communication channels, and developers who are also users and domain experts. These comparisons offer insights into why such practices work.


Online Teaching