- R&D 100 Awards
The Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) peer-to-peer (P2P) enterprise system is the largest-ever collaborative data effort in earth system science. With its collection of independently funded national and international projects, ESGF manages a decentralized database for accessing geophysical data at dozens of federated sites. Its widespread adoption, federation capabilities, broad developer base, and focus on earth system science data distinguish ESGF from other collaborative knowledge systems. Currently serving more than 25,000 users, the total ESGF archive manages over five petabytes of earth system science datasets from more than 25 projects and ~70 United Nations’ (UN) model intercomparison projects (MIPs). In addition, it supports over 700,000 datasets from worldwide laboratories and universities. The ESGF system is built specifically to support scientific research, comprising peer nodes distributed across several countries and united by common protocols and interfaces. This interoperability enables users to access global atmospheric, land, ocean, and sea-ice data generated by satellite, and in situ observations and complex computer simulations. With ESGF’s networks, computers and software, scientists can access and manage earth system data more efficiently and robustly through newly developed user interfaces, distributed or local search protocols, federated security, server-side analysis tools, direct connections to high-performance networks, an open compute environment and other community standards.