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Senior Project - Squash


Access and Conversion of Large Data Sets

Senior Project: 1991-1992
Stephan Latta and Mark Warshal

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) houses a mass storage system with 1014 bits of data. This includes two distinct classes of data: numerical representations of floating values generated from model simulations or observing platforms and data derived from graphics objects, such as metacode, polygons and image files.

There were two problems associated with this data storage. First, access to data on the mass storage system is through a complex command line interface which has many required parameters that are difficult to get correct and tedious to specify. Second, the NCAR computing environment is heterogeneous, so that the data must be in a form that is easily manipulated on a variety of hardware.

This project provided two components to solve these problems. First was a simple, interactive interface to the storage and retrieval of data from the mass storage system. It prompts the user for the required parameters, providing help as to the meaning and specification of parameters, and allows the user to maintain default parameter specifications. The second aspect of the project was to provide conversion utilities, which allow the data to be converted to a netCDF format, a standard format in which the data is stored in a machine independent manner. The software was written in C and FORTRAN.

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