Since the complexity of virtual experiments (VEs) and their underlying models is constantly increasing, computational performance of monolithic software solutions is rapidly becoming insufficient. Examples of VEs are probabilistic design, model calibration, optimal experimental design and scenario analysis. In order to tackle this computational bottleneck, a framework for the distributed execution of VEs on a potentially heterogeneous pool of work nodes has been implemented. This framework was named WDVE (WEST distributed virtual experimentation) and is built on top of technologies such as C++, XML and SOAP. It was designed for stability, expandability, performance, platform-independence and ease of use.

Complex VEs are most often composed of mutually independent sub-experiments, which can be run concurrently. With WDVE, a complex VE that is executed on a so-called Master machine will therefore attempt to execute its sub-experiments on Slave machines that have previously registered with the Master. The process of submitting requests for the execution of sub-experiments is transparent and involves the transfer of a description of the experiment to be executed, and the resources that are needed for the execution (i.e., model and input data). WDVE is in many ways similar to the Grid Computing paradigm, which is currently receiving widespread attention. However, WDVE is more geared towards application within the scope of water quality management.

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