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Techniques and Methods 7–C8

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Approaches in Highly Parameterized Inversion: PESTCommander, a Graphical User Interface for File and Run Management Across Networks

By Marinko Karanovic, Christopher T. Muffels, Matthew J. Tonkin , and Randall J. Hunt

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (4.38 KB) Abstract

Models of environmental systems have become increasingly complex, incorporating increasingly large numbers of parameters in an effort to represent physical processes on a scale approaching that at which they occur in nature. Consequently, the inverse problem of parameter estimation (specifically, model calibration) and subsequent uncertainty analysis have become increasingly computation-intensive endeavors. Fortunately, advances in computing have made computational power equivalent to that of dozens to hundreds of desktop computers accessible through a variety of alternate means: modelers have various possibilities, ranging from traditional Local Area Networks (LANs) to cloud computing. Commonly used parameter estimation software is well suited to take advantage of the availability of such increased computing power.

Unfortunately, logistical issues become increasingly important as an increasing number and variety of computers are brought to bear on the inverse problem. To facilitate efficient access to disparate computer resources, the PESTCommander program documented herein has been developed to provide a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that facilitates the management of model files (“file management”) and remote launching and termination of “slave” computers across a distributed network of computers (“run management”). In version 1.0 described here, PESTCommander can access and ascertain resources across traditional Windows LANs: however, the architecture of PESTCommander has been developed with the intent that future releases will be able to access computing resources (1) via trusted domains established in Wide Area Networks (WANs) in multiple remote locations and (2) via heterogeneous networks of Windows- and Unix-based operating systems. The design of PESTCommander also makes it suitable for extension to other computational resources, such as those that are available via cloud computing.

Version 1.0 of PESTCommander was developed primarily to work with the parameter estimation software PEST; the discussion presented in this report focuses on the use of the PESTCommander together with Parallel PEST. However, PESTCommander can be used with a wide variety of programs and models that require management, distribution, and cleanup of files before or after model execution. In addition to its use with the Parallel PEST program suite, discussion is also included in this report regarding the use of PESTCommander with the Global Run Manager GENIE, which was developed simultaneously with PESTCommander.

First posted September 25, 2012

For additional information contact:
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8505 Research Way
Middleton, WI 53562
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(608) 821-3817 fax

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Suggested citation:

Karanovic, M., Muffels, C.T., Tonkin, M.J., and Hunt, R.J., 2012, Approaches in highly parameterized inversion—PESTCommander, a graphical user interface for file and run management across networks: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 7, chap. C8, 9 p., available only at http://pubs.usgs/tm/tm7c8.


Purpose and Scope
Design Concepts
Using PESTCommander
Future Directions
Limitations of Version 1.0 of PESTCommander


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