[kepler-dev] Re: [SDM-SPA] SPA configuration

Bertram Ludaescher ludaesch at sdsc.edu
Thu Apr 1 17:37:36 PST 2004


Yes, it is good idea to have a "simpler configuration" for actor and
director libraries.

However, I don't think that Ilkay (or anyone else from us "IT folks")
should or even can determine which actors/directors "must" remain and
which ones can go.

First, SDM Center/SPA was reviewed a year ago or so, and the critique
was that we look like "consultants" for a specific community (actually 
specific guy = MattC). 

So actors who are not needed today, may be useful tomorrow. The
*scientists* need to be able to select and view actor and director
libraries in a convenient way.

As I explained in an earlier email to SDM-SPA
one way would be to annotate actors (and data sets for that matter)
with a list of properties and the dynamically create a browsable
folder tree which is organized according to the properties that the
scientist user has selected.

This will be much more productive and innovative than trying to second
guess what is redundant (today) and may be needed later. For example,
in addition to catering to MattC's needs (bioinformatics), NCSU is now 
interested in suppporting an astrophysics workflow. Maybe actors that
look useless to us today would be useful for that one tomorrow.

Other domains for which we already have workflows (sometimes with SPA
support) are ecology (GARP species predication pipeline), geosciences
(mineral classification workflows), and cheminformatics (sth coming

So I think having a dynamic (actor and director) library viewer that
can be configured by the user is a better solution to the "simpler
configuration problem" that you mention.

Note that in Kepler such a mechanism is already on the to do
list. Specifically, the actor/directory libraries will be dynamically
fed from a remote repository (e.g., a web service repository), so the
whole library thing will get much more dynamic than the current static 
folder structure.

To get an idea how this may look, you may check out the Cmap tools:

once you install that, you can access "on demand folders" from the web 
(which in this case, have concept maps, but in our case it would be
actors and data sets...)

Note that there are also some design documents in the Kepler CVS
describing an initial design:

(have a look at the stuff by Jing *Tao* here:

and here:

Bottom line: instead of worrying about what actors to delete and how
to restructure directories, I'd like to suggest to add a more
sophisticated capability that lets the user him/herself configure the
view they get. It's already in the making...


>>>>> "XX" == Xiaowen Xin <xin2 at llnl.gov> writes:
XX> Hi Ilkay,
XX> It may be useful to have SPA start up with a simpler configuration than
XX> the current default.  For example, there are now 8 directors listed in
XX> the treeview, and our workflows only use one or two of them.  Also, I
XX> don't believe SPA uses any of the libraries under "more libraries", many
XX> of them are optional packages that aren't even installed.
XX> If you start ptolemy with the -ptiny flag, then it uses a smaller
XX> configuration, 
XX> The abundance of actors that aren't directly related to SPA may cause
XX> confusion for our users, so we may want to create our own SPA
XX> configuration.  Which actors do you believe _must_ remain there, and
XX> which do you think we can remove from the treeview?
XX> Thanks,
XX> Xiaowen

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