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PIMMS provides a method for consistent and comprehensive documentation of modelling activities that enables the sharing of simulation data and model configuration information. The aim of PIMMS is to package the metadata infrastructure developed by Metafor for CMIP5 so that it can be used by climate modelling groups in UK Universities.
PIMMS tools capture information about running models from the design of experiments to the implementation of experiments via simulations that run models. PIMMS uses the Metafor methodology which consists of a Common Information Model (CIM), Controlled Vocabularies (CV) and software tools. PIMMS software tools provide for the creation and consumption of CIM content via a web services infrastructure and portal developed by the ES-DOC community. PIMMS metadata integrates with the ESGF data infrastructure via the mapping of vocabularies onto ESGF facets.
There are three paradigms of PIMMS metadata collection:
1 Model Intercomparision Projects (MIPs) where a standard set of questions is asked of all models which perform standard sets of experiments.
2 Disciplinary level metadata collection where a standard set of questions is asked of all models but experiments are specified by users.
3 Bespoke metadata creation where the users define questions about both models and experiments.
In each case PIMMS allows users to provide additional metadata beyond that which is asked for in an initial deployment.
The PIMMS methodology assumes an initial effort to document standard model configurations. Once these descriptions have been created users need only describe the specific way in which their model configuration is different from the standard. Thus the documentation burden on the user is specific to the experiment they are performing and fits easily into the workflow of doing their science. PIMMS metadata is independent of data and as such is ideally suited for documenting model development. PIMMS provides a framework for sharing information about failed model configurations for which data are not kept i.e. the negative results that don't appear in scientific literature.
PIMMS can be downloaded and installed locally or it can be accessed from the central CEDA service. The Central service is in alpha testing mode and can be found at http://web1-dev1.ceda.ac.uk/pimms. The PIMMS metadata manager itself has inline documentation and helpful info that appears when you hover over help icons.