Kepler 2.0 Released, June 24, 2010
The Kepler Project is pleased to announce the availability of Kepler 2.0, a major update to the Kepler scientific workflow system. Representing the combined efforts of numerous individuals and projects, Kepler is a user-friendly, open-source application for analyzing, modeling, and sharing scientific data and analytical processes.
The Kepler scientific workflow system (http://kepler-project.org) is designed to help scientists as well as analysts and computer programmers build models for executing analyses and running scientific models. Scientific workflows are a mechanism to specify and orchestrate the execution of scientific processes that span many different analytical systems and data repositories. Kepler can analyze data stored in a variety of formats with software components drawn from many different systems. For example, Kepler supports models in R, Matlab, and other common environments, and allows scientists to design analyses that utilize the strengths of each of these systems. By providing a sound infrastructure that permits users to easily integrate a wide diversity of data and analytical components, Kepler not only facilitates the execution of a specific analysis, but also helps users share and reuse data, workflows, and components developed by the community to address common problems. Kepler workflows have been used to study the effect of climate change on species distribution, to simulate supernova explosions, to identify transcription factors, and to perform statistical analyses. The variety of applications is as broad as today's exciting range of scientific studies.
Kepler 2.0 builds upon earlier releases by adding in several key new capabilities. Foremost, we have redesigned the underlying Kepler system to be a modular system that is easily extensible with add-on modules that can be developed independently of the main system. Module developers might define a new suite of components that handle a specific type of disciplinary computation, extend the Kepler framework to add new user interfaces, or add in new data access capabilities. Over the next few weeks we expect to see several new modules released and available for download through the new Kepler Module Manager (accessible from the Tools menu), including a reporting system, workflow run manager, and enhancements to the distributed execution system.
Other enhancements were made in Kepler 2.0, including major improvements to the provenance tracking system for workflow runs, improved consistency of the user interface on Mac OS X, a new Workflow Outline tab, new actors for accessing sensor data (e.g. DataTurbine) and other data repositories (e.g., OPeNDAP), and numerous stability improvements. For developers, we have also added several new extension points allowing developers to add new tabs and views in their modules, to be able to serialize results and other artifacts into Kepler Archive (kar) files, and the ability to interact with the remote Kepler repository to save and share workflows. Finally, we have completely redesigned the build system to support the new modules system and allow community contributions to the system.
Kepler is an open source project that is the result of many contributors to the Kepler system. We are committed to the continued open development and maintenance of the Kepler system, and users are encouraged to contribute to the product by suggesting features that would be of use or by actively participating in development by contributing modules or components.
The Kepler collaboration was originally founded in 2002 by researchers at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at University of California Santa Barbara, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at University of California San Diego, and the University of California Davis as part of the Science Environment for Ecological Knowledge (SEEK) and Scientific Data Management (SDM) projects. It has since grown to include contributors from scores of research projects in many science disciplines, including ecology, biology, geosciences, physics, engineering, and chemistry, among others. The Kepler software extends the Ptolemy II system developed by researchers at the University of California Berkeley, which provides a mature platform for building and executing workflows, and supports multiple models of computation.
Kepler is available under the BSD License. To download the application, please go to the Kepler downloads page.