News Archive

SDSC, UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis Join to Release Kepler Workflow System

Collaboration Yields Integrated Environment for Modeling and Automating Analyses

Published 05/27/2008

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:
Jan Zverina, SDSC Communications, 858 534-5111 or
Warren R. Froelich, SDSC Communications, 858 822-3622 or

Ilkay Altintas, 858 822-5453 or

The Kepler Project has announced Kepler 1.0, the first official release of the Kepler scientific workflow system that allows researchers across a wide range of disciplines to capture and execute scientific analyses and models that previously had to be managed under independent systems.

The open source system was developed by the Kepler Project, a community-driven collaboration founded in 2002 by researchers from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UC Santa Barbara, the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, and the Science Environment for Ecological Knowledge (SEEK) and Scientific Data Management (SDM) projects at UC Davis. Kepler extends Ptolemy II, which is a software system for modeling, simulation and design of concurrent, real-time embedded systems developed at UC Berkeley.

The Kepler workflow system is designed to assist scientists with little background in computer science, as well as computer programmers, to create scientific workflows. Workflows help solve the common challenge of analyzing data stored in a variety of formats with often disparate software systems and components. Earlier versions of Kepler workflows have been used to study the effect of climate change on species distribution, simulate supernova explosions, and perform complex statistical analyses.

"We wanted to create an open, customizable, extensible and robust scientific workflow environment that is useful in solving problems in a variety of scientific disciplines through access to a diverse portfolio of technologies," said Ilkay Altintas, lab director of the Scientific Workflow Automation Technologies (SWAT) group at SDSC. "Kepler 1.0 is the first official release that realizes our goal, and provides a basis for many exciting features that are in the works and coming soon."

"Kepler aims at facilitating significant scientific advances by providing an integrated platform for communicating precisely about the scientific process via the ability to share scientific workflows," added Matthew Jones, director of informatics research at NCEAS.

Kepler collaborators and users come from many science disciplines including ecology, molecular biology, genetics, physics, chemistry, conservation science, oceanography, hydrology, library science, and computer science. Workflows can leverage the compute power of grid technologies, taking advantage of Kepler's native support of parallel processing. Once created, the workflows can be saved, reused, or shared with colleagues using the Kepler archive format (KAR).

Kepler 1.0 comes with a searchable library containing more than 350 ready-to-use processing components called 'actors,' which can be customized and operated from a desktop environment to perform analysis, automate data management, and integrate applications efficiently. In addition to generic mathematical, statistical, and signal processing components, as well as components for data input, manipulation and display, highlights include R and MATLAB actors that easily integrate statistical analyses into Kepler workflows.

Other actors include the WebService actor, which can access and execute WSDL-defined web services and return execution results from within a workflow; a ReadTable actor that can access legacy data stored in Excel files; and an ExternalExecution actor that can execute command line applications from a workflow.

The Kepler project is funded through various grants from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. To download the Kepler application or learn more about the project, see

Related Links

San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC):
Kepler Project:
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS):
Science Environment for Ecological Knowledge (SEEK):
National Science Foundation: