Further explanation of DANSE


Under the IMR-MIP program of the National Science Foundation, funding at the level of M$ 1 from 2004-2005 was provided to develop a conceptual engineering design and project plan to build DANSE. The construction phase of DANSE was funded on June 1, 2006 at the level of M$ 12 for a duration of 5 years.

DANSE, distributed data analysis for neutron scattering experiments, uses a runtime component framework based on the language Python. Analysis is performed with reusable software components that can be connected across a network using standardized data streams. Components are integrated at runtime into a coherent interpretive framework so that custom analysis procedures can be constructed easily. The architecture enables high-performance computing on distributed resources and opens access to the future cyberinfrastructure of grid-based computing. DANSE provides an unprecedented opportunity to merge data analysis, theory, and simulation into a uniform computing environment.

The purpose of DANSE is to build software that enables new science, and better science, to be done with neutron scattering research. The fields of science include biology, chemistry, materials science, and physics. Within each field, fundamentally different types of scattering experiments are performed for studying the structure of materials and molecules, the motions of their atoms, or the motions of their magnetic structures, for example. Neutron scattering research is often categorized by both the field of science and the type of instrument used to perform the measurement. The DANSE project follows somewhat the organization of the field of neutron scattering research by dividing the work into five subfields: diffraction, engineering diffraction, small-angle scattering, reflectometry, and inelastic scattering. More description of these fields of research, and the goals of the DANSE software for extending them, can be found under the menu item Science at the left of your screen.

Deployment of DANSE software is both conventional and unconventional, but all products can be found from the DANSE release site (http:/danse.us/). Some software runs well on laptop computers, and allows rapid interaction with the data. It is available for a conventional download. Other software is computationally intensive, and requires large computing resources such as clusters or the supercomputer capabilities. This more complex software is also difficult to install and maintain. It is offered as a web service, where users log in to a working system.


Figure: Example of an analysis procedure for rebinning inelastic neutron scattering data, showing interrelationships between software components connected by data streams.

A more detailed description of DANSE is given in the DANSE white paper (http://arcs.cacr.caltech.edu/arcs/danse/docs/danse.pdf).

A thorough description of the components of the DANSE system is given in the DANSE Construction Proposal Text (50 pages 0.8 MB pdf)

Further information for developers and users is collected on the Project Resources page.

Press Release from Caltech and the NSF (June 30, 2006)

NSF Awards $11.97 Million to Caltech for Distributed Data Analysis of Neutron Scattering (http://pr.caltech.edu/media/Press_Releases/PR12875.html) The National Science Foundation today awarded $11.97 million to the California Institute of Technology for computer software to analyze neutron-scattering experiments. This work could show how to design new materials for a huge variety of applications in transportation, construction, electronics, and space exploration.

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