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ECE’s Zink and Lyons Part of Four-institution Team to Create Weather-forecasting “DyNamo” That Garners Two Prizes at Technology Challenge

Michael ZInk

Michael ZInk

Co-principal-investigator (co-PI) Michael Zink and Senior Research Scientist Eric Lyons of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department were key members of the multi-disciplinary team from UMass Amherst and three other institutions that created the Dynamic Network-Centric Multi-Cloud Platform, or DyNamo, a weather-forecasting device which won two awards at the inaugural SCinet Technology Challenge in November of 2019. Together, researchers from the four collaborating institutions developed a platform to improve weather forecasting and predict severe weather events in real time.

See ISI News Article »

After presenting a live demonstration of the new platform at the Technology Challenge, the DyNamo team was awarded prizes for Most Diverse Resources Set and Most Original Technical Approach, pointing to the broad utility of the platform.

Zink is an associate professor in the ECE department and co-director at the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA). Lyons is a member of the CASA team and leads the operations of its radar network in Dallas/Fort Worth. The DyNamo platform can provide substantial assistance to organizations such as CASA, which focuses on observing, understanding, predicting, and responding to weather events.

According to Zink, “DyNamo provides a scalable architecture for CASA's weather analysis workflows, dynamically provisioning cloud compute and network resources as severe weather develops, and efficiently distributing the processing without manual reconfiguration of dataflows.”

As Lyons added about DyNamo, “It's allowed CASA to leverage several NSF-sponsored academic multi-clouds, saving money in equipment costs, and enabling new research opportunities with larger scopes than previously feasible.”

The joint collaboration to create DyNamo was made through coordination among UMass Amherst, the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute (ISI), Rutgers University, and the Renaissance Computing Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (project lead).

As the Technology Challenge press release noted, DyNamo enables weather-related data to flow across a group of cloud resources. The platform uses advanced infrastructures to analyze live weather data generated by CASA radars to help weather scientists develop a timely response to weather events, improving the performance and efficiency of their forecasting workflows.

"As climate change continues to intensify, we'll have more severe weather events, so the ability to predict them in a timely manner is critical from the point of view of public safety," said Ewa Deelman, research professor of computer science, principal scientist, lead of the Pegasus project at ISI, and co-PI of the DyNamo project. "DyNamo allows you to dynamically provision cloud resources and networks to support time-critical workflows, such as those that model tornadoes and other severe weather events."

The system provides scientists with the tools they need to move quickly in analyzing developing and rapidly changing weather patterns. As one researcher observed, the DyNamo platform makes it easier for weather scientists to leverage advanced networking and computing capabilities to run their weather prediction models and to move weather data. (May 2020)