The Azimuth Project
Blog - The Azimuth Code Project: where we stand today (Rev #1)

This page is a blog article in progress, written by David Tanzer. To see discussions of this article while it was being written, visit the Azimuth Forum. Please remember that blog articles need HTML, not Markdown.

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At the Azimuth Code Project, we are working to produce educational software that is relevant to the Earth sciences and the study of climate. Here we will look into a stochastic resonance demonstration program, by Allan Erskine and Glyn Adgie. Stochastic resonance is a widely studied phenomenon, which has an application to the theory of ice-age cycles. After explaining how to run the program, we’ll sketch out some of the math and science background, and then move on to dissect the program and its algorithm.

The Azimuth models are interactive web pages. Their behavior is responsive, because the code runs right in the browser, as javascript. They make use of a high-level support library (JSXGraph), which allows them to focus logic of the models rather than the presentation mechanisms of the browser.

Postscript

We are starting to prepare for a new round of development at the Azimuth Code Project. Stay tuned, or, better yet, come join us at the Azimuth Forum and help us to work out some specifications for continuation of the work described in this blog article.

An open invitation to the Azimuth Code Project

We need to start planning for some new models to program. Let’s work out specs for some manageable units of work, which will teach the users – and the programmers, in the process of developing the code – about various concepts that are relevant to climate modelling (such as stochastic resonance). To be clear, we are not talking about implementation of full-scale, complex climate models. On the other hand, if someone can spec out the structure of an elementary sort of climate model, that would be truly appreciated.

If you are a climate scientist, we welcome your suggestions for some next, incremental, steps.

Consider the notion of a hierarchy of models, ranging from the most simple to the progressively more concrete. It has been pointed out by —- that climatologists are at a disadvantage compared to biologists, because nature has provided biologists with an existing hierarchy of models – ranging from the simplest single-cell organisms, to the worms, etc. The simpler models give some mental preparation for the more complex ones. But with climate models, we need to create the simpler models artificially.

But we the programmers may now need to roll up our sleeves, and start learning elements of this science. Begin to study this book Gerald North’s book, or this Textbook. Think of how to write programs to illustrate some aspects of the models. Simplify!

Then let’s talk about it! Pick a topic in one of these sources, see how far you get with it, and report back what you learned, and raise questions about the parts the you didn’t understand. It’s fine to carry on the discussion here, but we’ve found the Forum, with its really nice interface for managing discussion threads, to be a more productive and organized format. Browse around; here are some sample threads. We would love to have anyone here who is interested in contributing to the planning discussion, or in writing code, (or in using it) join in the forum. Just send a request email to John Baez for a login, explaining whatever your interest may be – no earnest request will be denied!

Note also, that in this educational pursuit, aiming for software that is relevant to climate science, we take a broad view of what is relevant. There is, for example, a lot of probability theory and stochastic processes that underlie the modelling of reality, and so software to educate about these concepts is also part of the Azimuth Code Project.

Documentation and blogging – pick a program.

All models that you post here will be considered as candidates for the Azimuth Code Project page. This may be a way for programmers, ultimately, to give back to the Earth.

category: blog