Research Professor and Deputy Director
Institute for the Environment
The group of Sarav Arunachalam, Research Professor and Deputy Director of the Institute for the Environment, focuses on numerical modeling of the atmosphere — emissions, meteorological and air quality — at a variety of spatial and temporal scales — using complex modeling systems.
Almost all the research that Arunachalam and his group performs relies on high-performance computing offered by Research Computing, specifically Kill Devil and the new Dogwood compute cluster.
“I am very thankful and appreciative of all the hard work and support provided by the Research Computing team, ranging from server support to software support to optimizing our workflow for complex modeling tasks on Research Computing servers,” Arunachalam said.
“In the last 15-plus years, I have approached the Research Computing staff with various projects that involved massively parallel computing and access to large disk spaces,” he said. “Each time, the Research Computing staff have been up for the challenge, and collaborated with my group to provide creative solutions. The mass storage system with petabyte scale storage and seamless direct access to the files from the compute servers is a crown jewel of the services that Research Computing provides, and has made a lot of our computing work easy over these years.”
In the recent past, with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Arunachalam’s group has worked with ITS software engineers to develop a suite of web-based modeling tools, called C-TOOLS, for assessing near-source exposures to air quality. This suite of tools hosted on ITS servers enables a global community of users from the EPA-funded Center for Community Modeling and Analyses System (CMAS), which is hosted at the Institute, to assess the air quality impact from road traffic and sea ports at neighborhood scales.
Through a new partnership with Google, one of these web-based tools, called C-REAL, accesses real-time traffic data from Waze and meteorological forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to predict near-road air quality in select areas of the country.
Arunachalam plans to expand these tools to provide near real-time air quality for any urban area of the United States and perhaps for any region in the world. He’s also talking with Google engineers for scaling options.
“Studying atmospheric processes and human health risk to air pollution goes beyond just servers and software, and I am very appreciative of Mike Barker and his team providing the computing services support we need to perform our research,” Arunachalam said. “While we focus on the science, I am grateful for Research Computing to focus on what they do best to make it a win-win situation for all.”