Managing scientific data has been identified by the scientific community as one of the most important emerging needs because of the sheer volume and increasing complexity of data being collected. Effectively generating, managing, and analyzing this information requires a comprehensive, end-to-end approach to data management that encompasses all of the stages from the initial data acquisition to the final analysis of the data. Fortunately, the data management problems encountered by most scientific domains are common enough to be addressed through shared technology solutions. Based on community input, the SDM center has identified three significant requirements. First, more efficient access to storage systems is needed. In particular, parallel file system and I/O system improvements are needed to write and read large volumes of data without slowing a simulation, analysis, or visualization engine. These processes are complicated by the fact that scientific data are structured differently for specific application domains, and are stored in specialized file formats. Second, scientists require technologies to facilitate better understanding of their data, in particular the ability to effectively perform complex data analysis and searches over extremely large data sets. Specialized feature discovery and statistical analysis techniques are needed before the data can be understood or visualized. Furthermore, interactive analysis requires indexing techniques for efficiently searching and selecting subsets of interest are needed. Finally, generating the data, collecting and storing the results, keeping track of data provenance, data post-processing, and analysis of results is a tedious, fragmented process. Workflow tools for automation of this process in a robust, tractable, and recoverable fashion are required to enhance scientific exploration.
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