NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 S1.05-9216
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Information Technology for Sun-Earth Connection Missions
PROPOSAL TITLE: High-Performance Data Analysis Tools for Sun-Earth Connection Missions

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Tech-X Corporation
5621 Arapahoe Ave Suite A
Boulder, CO 80303-1379

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
John R Cary
5621 aprapahoe
Boulder, CO 80303-1379

The Interactive Data Language (IDL) is a standard tool used by many researchers in observational fields. Present day Sun-Earch Connection missions like RHESSI or SOHO, or future missions, including the Solar Dynamics (SDO) almost exclusively analyze their data in IDL. However, the increasing amount of data produced by these missions, and the increasing complexity of image processing algorithms, requires higher computing power. Cluster computing is a cost-effective way to increase the speed of computation, but algorithms have to be modified to take advantage of parallel systems. Enhancing IDL to work on clusters gives scientists access to increased performance in a familiar programming environment. We propose to develop tools that enable IDL to profit from cluster systems. These tools will allow IDL applications to run in parallel without additional licenses. Finally, the parallelization will require no significant modification of the original programs. Enhanced data analysispower enables e.g. automatic image analysis on larger data sets. It can also help to reduce the response time to analyze data on demand,as desirable in virtual observatory environments. The wide spread of IDL allows scientists from other fields to profit from the increased execution speed.

The problem of increasing amounts of data that needs to be analyzed exists in all branches of NASA. Increasing the computing capabilities of the data analysis software is therefore of interest to all NASA branches. The widespread use of IDL throughout NASA makes the tools developed in this project applicable, not only to the Sun-Earth Connection theme but within the whole agency. In addition, the development of a low-cost alternative to the commercial IDL software is a cost reduction factor beneficial all NASA branches.

IDL is widely used at National Laboratories, universities and private industry. Research branches processing observational data, including medical imaging, chemistry, and earth science, face the same problem of increasing amounts of data to be processed. Their interest is also to reduce the time needed to perform the analysis, making them potential customers for the tools developed in this project. The cost savings resulting from this project could make it even more attractive,especially to private industry.