Towards E3SM Phase 3: Review and Realignment of the Organization

  • November 23, 2022
  • Blog
  • A New E3SM Alignment

    The E3SM project’s functional organization is realigning to better address the Nation’s strategic challenges. This new organization was presented in a recent review to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program. This new alignment refocuses the project on actionable predictions to achieve its long-term goal of completing actionable science simulation campaigns with a state-of-the-art Earth system model executing on Office of Science Exascale Computing systems.

    E3SM Phase 3 Review

    As the E3SM project’s second phase (second 3-year funding period) was ending, it prepared and presented to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Biological and Environmental Research (BER) a proposal for Phase 3 funding (check internal link to the proposal) with a renewed 10-year vision, and 3-year goals, roadmaps and planned deliverables. The proposal submission was then followed by the BER and an external and international panel review. This Review (see internal link to the agenda with presentations) was virtual and took place between October 31 to November 2, 2022.


    Figure 1. E3SM Phase 3 Review team consisted of Phase 2 and Phase 3 Leadership Team and a few team members reporting on specific developments.

    The E3SM ‘s both Phase 2 and Phase 3 Leadership teams and a few additional E3SM members (see Fig. 1) presented E3SM achievements and highlights from Phase 2 and explained the project’s plans for Phase 3.

    The review went very smoothly and on time, even though the days were very compact, starting at 10:30 am ET and ending at 5:30 pt ET on the first two days and a little shorter on the third day, convening between 11 am ET and 5 pm ET. The reviewers were engaged and asked many detailed questions, which were addressed by the E3SM team through various formats.

    The E3SM team is now waiting for the DOE BER response to the proposal and the Review, which should happen within the next few months, probably by the end of this year.

    Transitioning to Phase 3 Project Structure

    Assuming the proposal will be accepted, the next step for the project is to transition into Phase 3 of the project. This will entail some organizational changes. Since the proposal and the suggested new project’s organization received initial, tentative welcoming from BER, and the project needs to move forward to deliver on it’s goals, the E3SM leadership decided to start transitioning to the phase 3 structure right away, addressing the issues that need to be solved before the version 3 of the model can be released, which is coming in a very short time, scheduled for June 2023.

    To align the science drivers more explicitly with the goal of actionable modeling and projections of Earth system variability and change, while maintaining the foundational science on which they depend, the project has redefined the new drivers as: (1) Water Cycle Changes and Impacts; (2) Human-Earth System Feedbacks; and (3) Polar Processes, Sea Level Rise, and Coastal Impacts. These new, more explicit drivers highlight specific aspects of the Earth system that connect the E3SM model development and simulation campaigns to challenges facing our Nation and DOE. 

    To better align and refocus the project with these science drivers, the science simulation campaign groups were renamed. The Water cycle group will more accurately be now named “Water Cycle Changes and Impacts”, the BGC group focusing on human-earth interactions will be now called “Human-Earth System Feedbacks” and the Cryosphere will refocus as “Polar Processes, Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Impacts”.


    Figure 2. Functional Organization of E3SM’s Phase 3 project

    The project’s organization is further maturing to include parallel tracks to develop and release v3 in 2023 and v4 in 2026. The project evolved to operate in this mode during Phase 2, with significant overlap between the Science groups, responsible for model integration and simulation execution, and the Next-Generation Development subprojects, organized mostly around components. As Shown in Figure 2 there will be eleven groups in Phase 3 instead of the ten in Phase 2. The atmosphere and ocean components each have two tightly coupled groups to provide overlap and continuity between the current and near – term component code versions (Atmosphere-EAMv3, Ocean-MPAS-O) and the longer-term, refactored performance portable versions (EAMxx, OMEGAxx) designed for Exascale machines. Additionally, the responsibility for the core model integration and tuning was separated from the Phase 2 Water Cycle group to create the Coupled System group. Its role will be to integrate the components for each new full model release and perform the evaluation simulations defined in the DECK (Diagnostic, Evaluation and Characterization of Klima) and CMIP historical simulations (1850 – near-present) protocols. Science Simulation groups will concentrate on executing, analyzing, and publishing results from the simulation campaigns.

    The Infrastructure group will become Infrastructure, Performance and Data group, and its memberswill have the responsibilities for maintaining and extending the project’s software system, associated scripts, analysis software, and management, as well as curation and distribution of production simulation output. They will test and apply optimal, machine-specific configurations for the simulation campaigns and solve problems associated with changes in the software stacks (compilers, libraries, I/O systems, etc.) at the Office of Science computing centers. The Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence (ML/AI) Coordinator (not shown) will provide a forum to share experience among the ML/AI Epics in the project as well as serving as the project’s ML/AI external representative.

    Lastly, the Executive Committee (Exec), comprised the Council Chair (CC, and project Principal Investigator), the Chief Scientist (CS), the Chief Computational Scientist (CCS) and the Project Engineer (PE) and Chief Operating Officer (COO), selected by the Program Manager in consultation with the DOE Earth and Environmental Systems Sciences Division Director, are not changing.

    E3SM Phase 3 Leadership Team

    Executive Committee (C-Suite)

    • Dave Bader, Chair;
    • Ruby Leung, Chief Scientist;
    • Mark Taylor, Chief Computational Scientist,
    • Renata McCoy, Project Engineer and COO

    Leaders and Deputies for Each Group

    • Human-Earth System Feedbacks: Leader Ben Bond-Lamberty; Deputies – Jennifer Holm and Nicole Jeffery
    • Polar Processes, Sea-Level Rise, and Coastal Impacts: Leader Stephen Price; Deputy Andrew Roberts
    • Water Cycle Changes and Impacts: Leader Bryce Harrop; Deputy Claudia Tibaldi
    • Infrastructure, Performance and Data: Leader Robert Jacob; Deputy Chengzhu (Jill) Zhang
    • Coupled model: Leader Chris Golaz; Deputy Wuyin Lin
    • Atmosphere : Leader Shaocheng Xie; Deputy Susannah Burrows
    • EAMxx: Leader Peter Caldwell; Deputy Susannah Burrows
    • Ocean: Leader: Luke Van Roekel; Deputies Steven Brus and Mark Petersen
    • OMEGAxx : Leader Philip Jones; Deputy Sarat Sreepathi
    • Ice: Leader Elizabeth Hunke
    • Land: Leader Peter Thornton; Deputy – Gautam Bisht
    • Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence Coordinator: Andrew Salinger
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