Cyber Infrastructure Research & Development Lab for the Earth Sciences

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CIRDLES is an undergraduate computer science software engineering initiatve at the College of Charleston, Charleston, SC. We specialize in the collaborative development of free open source software to support science domains.

CIRDLES is creating free open source cyber infrastructure for geochronology in an interdisciplinary collaboration among our software engineers and undergraduate research assistants and geochemists from two NSF-supported initiatives, EARTHTIME and EarthChem. The EARTHTIME initiative is a community-supported network of geologists and geochemists focused on providing the tools necessary for high-precision sequencing of earth history using an integration of radioisotopic dating and stratigraphy. The EarthChem project is designing data repositories for all geochemical data, including radioisotopic geochronological data.

CIRDLES is designing and building a novel and exemplar end-to-end data processing system for geochronological data processing workflows that links data production to data archiving. The principal software component is ET_Redux and supports uranium-lead geochronology. We are extending ET_Redux in 2015-2017 to include uranium-series geochronology. ET_Redux serves as the template for future efforts to process all geochronological data such as other radioisotopic systems involving 40Ar/39Ar, U-Th-He, and Lu-Hf. As part of the end-to-end workflow architecture implemented with ET_Redux, we also are developing CHRONI as a mobile app that accesses and displays archived sample analyses. One novel and important aspect of the project is to integrate pedagogical and learning aids into the software products we develop. For example, the data reduction algorithms and the equations for the propagation of uncertainty will have interactive graphical interfaces to provide transparency and to enhance understanding.

CIRDLES is also supporting the earth sciences community by leading the development of free open source a replacement for Ken Ludwig's ISOPLOT with the Topsoil project. Additionally, we are hosting a Commons where we will provide specific implementation and services for the community.

Here at CIRDLES, we are dedicated to attaining these goals:

  • Learn the foundational aspects of domain-specific software engineering from our work with geochemists
  • Develop software to serve as cyber infrastructure for geochronology - providing services from data analysis to data archiving and compilation
  • Work to benefit both computer science and the earth sciences
  • Provide research opportunities for undergraduate students
  • Support the teaching efforts of both software engineers and geochemists by producing tangible, open-source artifacts for students to use

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