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[eclipse.org-architecture-council] [Bug 256477] New: STEM Project needs a project mentor
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- Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 13:28:41 -0500 (EST)
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Product/Component: Community / Architecture Council
Summary: STEM Project needs a project mentor
Component: Architecture Council
STEM needs a new home. STEM is currently a component of the OHF, but the OHF
has no other active projects other than STEM (see below). There seems to be
some consensus to move STEM directly under the Technology PMC, which requires a
Project Creation Review. That process requires two project mentors. Ed Merks
has agreed to be one mentor, we just need another.
Below is the introduction of our proposal which will give more background.
Thanks for your consideration
This document is a proposal to create a new Eclipse Project under the
Technology PMC called the Spatiotemporal Epidemiological Modeler or STEM . STEM
is currently a Component of the Open Healthcare Framework (OHF) project, which
is also under the Eclipse Technology PMC.
In the past year (2008), the OHF has seen all of its components, other than
STEM, migrate either to other parts of Eclipse (e.g., SODA) or to the external
Open Healthcare Tools (OHT http://www.openhealthtools.org/) organization. This
has left STEM as the only active Component in the OHF. The consensus of the
four STEM committers is that they are very happy with Eclipse and how it is
managed and wish to remain with the Foundation. However, given that the rest
of the OHF project has "evaporated," it makes sense to move STEM out of the OHF
and place it directly under the Technology PMC.
What is STEM?
STEM began life as a platform for the collaborative development of mathematical
models that characterize the spread of infectious diseases in both time and
space. STEM was originally developed by IBM Research as part of IBM's Global
Pandemic Initiative (GPI), a working group of global healthcare "players" (WHO,
UN, etc) that IBM formed to help plan for, and combat, the threat of global
pandemic influenza. As part of its contribution to the GPI, IBM donated the
source code for STEM to the Eclipse foundation in May 2007.
STEM enables epidemiologists and other researchers to develop disease models
quickly and collboratively. STEM includes the basic data sets that define the
political geography, demographic data and transportation infrastructure for the
entire planet, saving the need for modelers to collect these on their own. It
also includes configurable "text book" disease models they can use to
immediately try different models and extensive editors and wizards that ease
model creation. STEM includes built-in views to visualize the geographic
spread of diseases as well as an interface to Google Earth. Each disease model
is composed of a set of interchangeable components that supply different
aspects of the model. These include data sets as well as mathematics. These
components can be created by different researchers and easily shared, thereby
fostering cooperation and collaboration.
STEM is more than a disease modeling system, the same attributes that make a
good collaborative system for disease modeling are the same ones that
facilitate other kinds of model development. To this end, STEM was designed
and implemented from its very inception to be a more versatile platform and
framework, with disease modeling being a very complete example "application."
At its core, STEM is a framework for composing arbitrary graphs (nodes, edges,
labels) from different "parts" and then managing computations that use the
graph as both a source of data and as place to record state information. One
of the main innovations provided by STEM is that it allows the graph used
during a simulation to be composed from different parts that represent
different aspects of the eventual simulation. For instance, sets of labeled
nodes that represent geographic locations can be combined with sets of labels
that provide population data for those edges for a particular time period
(e.g., 1918). Similarly, different sets of edges can be added to the graph to
incorporate different kinds of relationships, such as transportation
infrastructure or simple physical relationships such as sharing a common
border. Computation is added to the mix through a similar well defined
interface to the graph. These different parts can be aggregated and saved for
reuse in multiple different models. They can also be exported and distributed
to other users. It is this aggregation and reuse that promotes collaboration
as different components can be created by different parties and easily shared.
Having such a general framework enables a variety of other kinds of
applications, not all of which are simulations. It is possible, for instance,
to run STEM in "real-time" where it uses "wall-clock" time when manipulating
the state of the underlying graph and have it access external data sources as
part of that process. Integrating real-time weather information or other
real-time environmental data into a model in STEM is an example. This ability
allows STEM to be applied to decision support applications that require the
integration of "situational awareness" and analytics; examples would be
disaster planning and response, securities trading and risk management and
logistical planning. The integration of external data sources through SOA and
RSS feeds is a future step being considered for the project.
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