Toward a "Virtual Laboratory" to Support Forest Fire Behaviour Modelling and Metrology
F. GuarnierI (Ecole des Mines de Paris, France), S. Olampi (Ecole des Mines de Paris, France) and A. Napoli (Joint Research Centre, Space Applications Institute, Italy)
Copyright: © 2001
In forest fire research, it is now accepted that computational simulation and databases have become essential components of the scientific process, in order to combine theory and experiments. Although computers and software tools play a crucial role in the conduct of forest fire science today, scientists lack adequate software engineering tools to ease the construction, maintenance and reusability of modelling and database software. Usually, scientific models are implemented using a general-purpose programming language, such as Fortran C or C++. But since this type of general-purpose language is not specifically customised for scientific modelling problems, the scientist is forced to translate scientific constructs into general-purpose programming constructs in order to implement the model. This “manual’’ translation process can be very complicated, labor-intensive and error-prone. Furthermore, the translation process obfuscates the original scientific intent behind the model, and buries important assumptions in the program code that should remain explicit. The resulting code is often complex and difficult to understand for anyone but the original developers.