Cscibox: A Software System for Age-Model Construction and Evaluation
Abstract:CSciBox is an integrated software system for the construction and evaluation of age models of paleo-environmetal archives, both directly dated and cross dated. The time has come to encourage cross-pollinization between earth science and computer science in dating paleorecords. This project addresses that need.
The CSciBox code, which is being developed by a team of computer scientists and geoscientists, is open source and freely available on github. The system employs modern database technology to store paleoclimate proxy data and analysis results in an easily accessible and searchable form. This makes it possible to do analysis on the whole core at once, in an interactive fashion, or to tailor the analysis to a subset of the core without loading the entire data file. CSciBox provides a number of 'components' that perform the common steps in age-model construction and evaluation: calibrations, reservoir-age correction, interpolations, statistics, and so on. The user employs these components via a graphical user interface (GUI) to go from raw data to finished age model in a single tool: e.g., an IntCal09 calibration of 14C data from a marine sediment core, followed by a piecewise-linear interpolation. CSciBox's GUI supports plotting of any measurement in the core against any other measurement, or against any of the variables in the calculation of the age model-with or without explicit error representations. Using the GUI, CSciBox's user can import a new calibration curve or other background data set and define a new module that employs that information. Users can also incorporate other software (e.g., Calib, BACON) as 'plug ins.' In the case of truly large data or significant computational effort, CSciBox is parallelizable across modern multicore processors, or clusters, or even the cloud.
The next generation of the CSciBox code, currently in the testing stages, includes an automated reasoning engine that supports a more-thorough exploration of plausible age models and cross-dating scenarios.