February 1, 2010
Parabon Computation, a veteran provider of extreme-scale grid computing software and solutions, announced it has won a two-year, $600,000 contract from NASA. As part of the space agency's highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award program, Parabon will deliver a first-of-its-kind software service that enables scientists and engineers to interactively develop, execute and collaborate on modeling and simulation (M&S) applications from any standard web browser.
Built upon Parabon's Frontier® Grid Platform, which manages some of the largest computational grids, the new Modeling and Simulation as a Service (M&SaaS) solution will provide web-based Platform as a Service tools. These tools — such as a browser-based source code editor, online collaboration utilities, and virtualized build and runtime environment management interfaces — will allow developers to more efficiently create and modify a wide variety of high-performance computing (HPC) applications. In addition, the web-centric nature of the project will allow researchers around the world to work together seamlessly, removing barriers that have heretofore hampered scientific collaboration, dramatically increasing productivity for NASA and other organizations.
"M&SaaS has the potential to revolutionize how scientific software is designed, developed, deployed and used. By fully exploiting the service paradigm, Parabon's solution will eliminate many of the obstacles that currently challenge the modeling and simulation community," said Mike Seablom, who leads the Software Integration & Visualization Office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "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."
Use of modeling and simulation is pervasive at NASA, as many of the space agency's research projects don't lend themselves to direct experimentation. For example, climatologists rely heavily on atmospheric models to assess the far-reaching consequences of greenhouse gas emissions; space-mission programs use simulation extensively to orchestrate mission plans, engineer flight systems and conduct contingency planning exercises; and space-science programs model cosmological phenomena to answer humankind's most profound questions about time and space. Outside of NASA, the list of applicable domains for M&SaaS is practically limitless. Engineers across a wide variety of sectors — including defense, finance and pharmaceutical research, among others — will benefit from the increased productivity provided by Parabon's solution.
"NASA's SBIR program is highly competitive and Parabon is proud to be recognized for this software innovation. We're confident that the capabilities developed under this project will forever transform the way modeling and simulation is practiced," said Dr. Steven Armentrout, Parabon president and chief executive officer. "It's a perfect example of what can be accomplished by combining our extensive grid computing capabilities with recent advances in cloud computing and other online service-oriented technologies."
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