Nuclear Data Online Software Systems
A number of innovative online software systems have been created to meet the needs of the nuclear physics and astrophysics communities. By incorporating custom data processing, management, sharing, and visualization tools, these systems significantly expand the utilization of standardized nuclear databases by the research communities. A ”cloud computing” approach was utilized in these systems, wherein Users run applications and manage files on a remote server. This methodology has possibilities for widespread utilization throughout the broader nuclear data and nuclear science communities. The advantage of this approach is that Users never have to install software, download patches, link libraries, or worry about compatibility, data storage, or security -- they only need an internet connection for system access. The User interfaces, which break down complex tasks into a series of simple, fast, self-contained steps, have been refined over the years from comments of Users. Users have also provided valuable suggestions for new system features. Details of each of the systems, which are a collaborative effort between ORNL and Pandia Software, LLC, are given below.
Nuclear Astrophysics Data Pipeline
The Computational Infrastructure for Nuclear Astrophysics (CINA), available at the host website nucastrodata.org, is world’s only “Nuclear Astrophysics Data Pipeline”. First online in 2004, this system now has Users in over 193 institutions in 42 countries. CINA enables Users to upload, modify, share, compare, visualize, and analyze information of three different types -- nuclear cross sections, thermonuclear reaction rates, and nucleosynthesis simulations. The concept of a “pipeline” is that Users can upload their own nuclear data (such as, a cross section), manipulate it, process it into a thermonuclear reaction rate, fit that rate in a standardized parameterization, combine that new rate with thousands of other rates into a custom rate library, and then use that library along with other parameters to set up, execute, visualize, and analyze an element synthesis calculation. With a simple point-and-click interface, Users can visualize reaction flow and abundances in novae, supernovae, X-ray bursts, and other astrophysical scenarios, and they can analyze the simulation results to search for “waiting point nuclei” and “bottleneck reactions” that warrant further experimental and theoretical analyses. The system can also perform automated sensitivity studies, where the dependence of simulation predictions of input nuclear data can be quickly and easily determined.
Nuclear Mass Toolkit
The "Nuclear Masses Toolkit” is a system specialized for the community that uses nuclear masses for their research. Accessible at the host website nuclearmasses.org, this system is unique in that it enables Users to upload, manage, modify, share, compare, and visualize three different categories of masses: experimental, evaluated, and theoretical. Custom visualizations are available in one- and two-dimensional plots; an example of the latter is a two-neutron separation energy surface plot. Additionally, analysis tools are available, including the ability to determine the average RMS differences between datasets (such as a new set and a standard), and then plot these differences as functions of proton number, neutron number, or mass.
bigbangonline.org is an online system that enables Users to run customized simulations of element creation in the early universe using sets of input nuclear data. By comparing simulation predictions with observations, Users can use nuclear physics to set a constraint on the universal baryon density, a fundamental cosmological parameter. This system has built in Monte Carlo element synthesis capabilities, wherein thousands of simulations are executed, each with the input nuclear data slightly adjusted. This enables robust uncertainty quantification (UQ) to be performed on the simulation predictions and the corresponding cosmological constraints.
Other Online Systems
This development approach for online software systems has been adapted, customized, and extended for utilizations beyond nuclear data. One extension is the Isotopes Catalog at the National Isotope Development Center (NIDC). The NIDC manages and distributes the isotopes produced by the U.S. Government for basic research and a wide variety of societal applications. This catalog is online at that host website isotopes.gov. A second adaptation is an online system for supernova modelers – Bellerophon, and a third system is Beam, customized for materials scientists at the Spallation Neutron Source.