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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: OBJECT MODELING AND SCALING OF LANDSCAPE PROCESSES AND CONSERVATION EFFECTS IN AGRICULTURAL SYSTEMS

Location: Agricultural Systems Research Unit

Title: An Exploratory Investigation on the Invasiveness of Environmental Modeling Frameworks

Authors
item Lloyd, Wes -
item David, Olaf -
item Ascough, James
item Rojas, Ken -
item Carlson, Jack -
item Leavesley, George -
item Krause, Peter -
item Green, Timothy
item Ahuja, Lajpat

Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 2, 2009
Publication Date: July 24, 2009
Repository URL: http://www.mssanz.org.au/modsim09/C3/lloyd.pdf
Citation: Lloyd, W., David, O., Ascough II, J.C., Rojas, K.W., Carlson, J.R., Leavesley, G.H., Krause, P., Green, T.R., Ahuja, L.R. 2009. An Exploratory Investigation on the Invasiveness of Environmental Modeling Frameworks. World IMACS Congress and MODSIM09 International Congress on Modelling and Simulation.p. 909-915.

Interpretive Summary: This paper provides initial results of an exploratory investigation on the invasiveness of environmental modeling frameworks. Invasiveness is defined as the coupling between application (i.e., model) and framework code used to implement the model. By measuring framework invasiveness, we hope to provide environmental modeling framework developers and environmental modelers with valuable information to assist in future development efforts. Eight implementations (six framework-based) of Thornthwaite, a simple water balance model, were made in a variety of environmental modeling frameworks and languages. A set of software metrics were proposed and applied to measure invasiveness between model implementation code and framework code. The metrics produced a rank ordering of invasiveness for the framework-based implementations of Thornthwaite. We compared model invasiveness results with several popular software metrics including size in lines of code (LOC), cyclomatic complexity, and object oriented coupling. For the six framework-based implementations of Thornthwaite we found a five-fold variation in code size (LOC), a seven-fold variation in total cyclomatic complexity, and a two to three-fold variation in object oriented coupling. For the model implementations we found that total size, total complexity, and total coupling all had a significant positive correlation. This study provides initial results but further investigation is desired to evaluate the utility of our invasiveness measurement approach as well as the software quality implications of framework invasiveness.

Technical Abstract: This paper provides initial results of an exploratory investigation on the invasiveness of environmental modeling frameworks. Invasiveness is defined as the coupling between application (i.e., model) and framework code used to implement the model. By comparing the implementation of an environmental model across several modeling frameworks, we aim to better understand the consequences of framework design. How frameworks present functionality to modelers through APIs can lead to consequences with respect to model development, model maintenance, reuse of model code, and ultimately collaboration among model developers. By measuring framework invasiveness, we hope to provide environmental modeling framework developers and environmental modelers with valuable information to assist in future development efforts. Eight implementations (six framework-based) of Thornthwaite, a simple water balance model, were made in a variety of environmental modeling frameworks and languages. A set of software metrics were proposed and applied to measure invasiveness between model implementation code and framework code. The metrics produced a rank ordering of invasiveness for the framework-based implementations of Thornthwaite. We compared model invasiveness results with several popular software metrics including size in lines of code (LOC), cyclomatic complexity, and object oriented coupling. To investigate software quality implications of framework invasiveness we checked for relationships between the Chidamber and Kemerer (1994) object oriented software metrics and our framework invasiveness measures. For the six framework-based implementations of Thornthwaite we found a five-fold variation in code size (LOC), a seven-fold variation in total cyclomatic complexity, and a two to three-fold variation in object oriented coupling. For the model implementations we found that total size, total complexity, and total coupling all had a significant positive correlation. This study provides initial results but further investigation is desired to evaluate the utility of our invasiveness measurement approach as well as the software quality implications of framework invasiveness.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014