MS Thesis Defense to be Held This Week

MS Dissertation Defense
MS Dissertation Defense


"Simulation, Development, and Deployment of Mobile Wireless Sensor Networks for Migratory Bird Tracking"

William P. Bennett, Jr.
Friday, July 13, 2012, 9:00am
112 Schorr Center


This thesis presents CraneTracker, a multi-modal sensing and communication system for monitoring migratory species at the continental level. By exploiting the robust and extensive cellular infrastructure across the continent, traditional mobile wireless sensor networks can be extended to enable reliable, low-cost monitoring of migratory species. The developed multi-tier architecture yields ecologists with unconventional behavior information not furnished by alternative tracking systems at such a large scale and for a low-cost. The simulation, development and implementation of the CraneTracker software system are presented. The system is shown effective through multiple proxy deployments on wildlife and has been operational for 10 months at the time of writing.

"WGUI: A Web-Based Graphical User Interface for High-Performance Computing"

Sergey Avdeev
Friday, July 13, 2012, 11 a.m.
256C Avery Hall


It is becoming more common for scientific codes running on workstations to include a graphic user interface (GUI) to allow the user to launch, monitor and control calculations. Migrating such codes to a high performance cluster platform invariably requires abandoning the GUI in favor of traditional input files and post-processing of results. The relative inconvenience of the user interface in such an environment leads some users to migrate to clusters as a last resort. To ease the transition from the workstation GUI environment to a cluster environment, we have developed a platform independent architecture for adding a sophisticated GUI to scientific applications running on clusters.

The system architecture consists of two elements: a custom web-server (the middleware layer) that mediates interactions between the user and the computational kernel; and a lightweight remote procedure call server embedded in the computational kernel with all data encoded using the extensible markup language (XML-RPC). Typically, the middleware will run on the publicly accessible master-node of a cluster. The XML-RPC server, running as a separate thread, processes requests from the middleware in response to user actions. In its simplest form, this system allows graphical inspection of internal data-structures in the scientific kernel and gives real-time access to all log messages. Alternatively, by exposing functions to the XML-RPC server, complex GUI applications can be readily created.

A preliminary implementation of this system has been developed around a hydrodynamic laser-plasma interaction code. This code was originally developed with an Operating System dependent GUI. At present, the system is able to reproduce most of the existing GUI features of the code as well as adding some new features. In this implementation, the middleware is based on the Python web-application framework CherryPy. The C++ library xmlrpc-c provides the XML-RPC server functions in the kernel. This server functions as a supervisor directing the actions of the code in a manner analogous to a typical GUI event handler.