What Is a Testbed?

Generally speaking, it is an environment for experimentation of large development projects. Testbeds allow for rigorous, transparent and reliable testing of scientific theories, computational tools, and new technologies.

The goals of the SURA project is to create a multi-disciplinary, community based modeling testbed that facilitates improved coastal ocean prediction for the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts.

The testbed will allow scientists to share models, observations and tools needed to elucidate, prioritize and ultimately link models so they can be used in an interoperable manner. The goals include:

  • Evaluating and improving research models;
  • Evaluating and improving models already in operational use within the super-region;
  • Developing a blueprint for research-to-operations transitions of the most promising models and tools;
  • Assessing system performance of models; and finally,
  • Facilitating the transition of models from research to operations.

Pilot testbed projects will address three recurrent issues within the super region: (1) coastal inundation, (2) estuarine hypoxia, and (3) shelf hypoxia. An overarching theme will involve the design and implementation of cyberinfrastructure (CI) to support the three coastal themes.

Beneficiaries of the testbed will include research scientists, coastal resource managers, emergency managers, federal agencies, regional associations and industry. It is intended that five related objectives will be achieved in the first year:

  1. Develop skill assessment and performance metrics to enable modelers to improve prediction of key coastal processes.
  2. Develop an overarching cyberinfrastructure to support multiple model testbed activities.
  3. Plan and conduct pilot testbed projects that address inundation and hypoxia.
  4. As a demonstration of the pilot testbed, define and transition into a federal operational facility one or more models, tools or toolkits to predicts acute or chronic environmental conditions.
  5. In collaboration with federal partners, develop proto cal to evaluate the feasibility, costs and benefits of improving existing operational capabilities and transitioning new models into operational facilities.

In subsequent years, the project will use the “lessons learned” from this exercise to transition additional models and apply them to other geographical regions. Other priority areas for future applications of the testbed include forecasting the trajectories and impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil, river hydrology, ecosystem forecasting and coastal erosion. The cyberinfrastructure will be extended to support additional types of models and additional geographic regions.


Benefits of SURA Super-regional Modeling Testbed
Participating Organizations of the Testbed

SURA Coastal & Environmental Research Program Contacts

Dr. L. Don Wright, Director of Coastal Research
Sara J. Madden, Coastal Research Programs Manager