Seminar: Open-Source Framework for Earth System Digital Twins

Sep. 7, 2023

1:00 – 2:00 pm MDT

Mesa Lab Main Seminar Room and Virtual

Speaker: Thomas Huang, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory



An Earth System Digital Twin (ESDT) is a dynamic, interactive, digital replica of the state and temporal evolution of Earth systems. It integrates multiple models along with observational data, and connects them with analysis, AI, and visualization tools. Together, it enables users to explore historical long-term record, the current state of the Earth system, and predict future conditions by running hypothetical scenarios to understand how the system would evolve under various assumptions. Given the Earth System is highly interconnected and complex, it would be difficult and costly to attempt to develop a sustainable standalone system. The NASA Advanced Information Systems Technology (AIST) program’s Integrated Digital Earth Analysis System (IDEAS) project has been developing a professional open-source framework for ESDT to formalize the information model, platform interfaces to streamline the integration of observation artifacts, advanced numerical models, AI capabilities, and dynamic data acquisition. The motivation is to establish a federation of interoperable ESDTs to exchange of data, models from global to regional scale, and scenario-based predictions. This talk provides an overview of the IDEAS framework and two IDEAS-based digital twins, a federated digital twin for flood prediction and analysis being developed between NASA and the Space for Climate Observatory (SCO) FloodDAM Digital Twin effort, and an Air Quality Information Center that includes support for wildfire, Greenhouse Gas, and health impact.


Thomas Huang is a Group Supervisor at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Instrument Software and Science Data Systems section and the Strategic Lead for Interactive Analytics for the National Space Technology Applications Program Office at JPL. Thomas is the NASA Principal Investigator for Earth System Digital Twins and the System Architect for NASA’s Sea Level Change Portal. As an expert in large-scale, distributed intelligent data systems, Thomas led both planetary and Earth information system projects. As an advocate for free and open-source software, Thomas led the open-sourcing of many JPL-developed technologies. He is the founder and creator of the Apache Science Data Analytics Platform (SDAP) technology as a community-driven, cloud-based analytics platform. Thomas is a frequently invited speaker and panelist at various US and international events. He is the Lead Editor of a newly released book, titled Big Data Analytics in Earth, Atmospheric, and Ocean Sciences. It is part of the AGU Special Publication Series. Previously, Thomas served as a member of the NOAA’s Data Archive and Access Requirements Working Group of the NOAA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB). Outside of JPL, Thomas is a Computer Science lecturer at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and a member of its Industry Advisory Board.  


*This event is for NCAR/UCAR/UCP staff only. For employees, add this event to your calendar