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Senior Project - Project Ellis


An NNTP Protocol-Based Local Data Manager

Senior Project: 2002-2003
Douglas Hakkarinen, Michael Linck, Jacob Ott, Viktor Przebinda and Jonathan Spitze

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is a nonprofit corporation formed by research institutions with doctoral programs in the atmospheric and related sciences. Its base is the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), located in Boulder, Colorado. UCAR was formed to support research and education in atmospheric science at a level that is beyond the resources of individual universities.

UCAR supplies real-time weather data to colleges and universities for use in the classroom, trains weather forecasters in the latest research results and technologies, and helps organize international experiments in remote areas of the world, among other services. NCAR maintains resources such as state-of-the-art computer models of weather and climate, radars, and aircraft that are used by scientists around the world. UCAR's Unidata Program provides visualization software to researchers and educators at little or no cost.

This project focused on redesigning and reimplementing local data management software, which used non-proprietary protocols to communicate on a peer-to-peer network. The software acquires data and shares it with other networked computers. A data product is treated as an opaque unit; thus nearly any data can be relayed. In particular, the current system can handle data from National Weather Service data streams, including gridded data from the numerical forecast models. It also handles NEXRAD radar data, lightning data from the National Lightning Detection Network, and GOES satellite imagery.

The new client uses the same idea of peer-to-peer networking, but is based on the well-known and widely used Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP), the same protocol that people use to read newsgroups. Like a news reader, this client will not relay data products, but will only receive them. However, this client is not a news reader, but a peer server. These data products will be pushed onto the client by one of its peers. One of the client's primary duties will be to differentiate between different types of data streams and handle them accordingly, without ceasing to receive new data. The system was developed in Java.

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Department of Computer Science
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