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Title: Improving the trust in results of numerical simulations and scientific data analytics

This white paper investigates several key aspects of the trust that a user can give to the results of numerical simulations and scientific data analytics. In this document, the notion of trust is related to the integrity of numerical simulations and data analytics applications. This white paper complements the DOE ASCR report on Cybersecurity for Scientific Computing Integrity by (1) exploring the sources of trust loss; (2) reviewing the definitions of trust in several areas; (3) providing numerous cases of result alteration, some of them leading to catastrophic failures; (4) examining the current notion of trust in numerical simulation and scientific data analytics; (5) providing a gap analysis; and (6) suggesting two important research directions and their respective research topics. To simplify the presentation without loss of generality, we consider that trust in results can be lost (or the results’ integrity impaired) because of any form of corruption happening during the execution of the numerical simulation or the data analytics application. In general, the sources of such corruption are threefold: errors, bugs, and attacks. Current applications are already using techniques to deal with different types of corruption. However, not all potential corruptions are covered by these techniques. We firmly believemore » that the current level of trust that a user has in the results is at least partially founded on ignorance of this issue or the hope that no undetected corruptions will occur during the execution. This white paper explores the notion of trust and suggests recommendations for developing a more scientifically grounded notion of trust in numerical simulation and scientific data analytics. We first formulate the problem and show that it goes beyond previous questions regarding the quality of results such as V&V, uncertainly quantification, and data assimilation. We then explore the complexity of this difficult problem, and we sketch complementary general approaches to address it. This paper does not focus on the trust that the execution will actually complete. The product of simulation or of data analytic executions is the final element of a potentially long chain of transformations, where each stage has the potential to introduce harmful corruptions. These corruptions may produce results that deviate from the user-expected accuracy without notifying the user of this deviation. There are many potential sources of corruption before and during the execution; consequently, in this white paper we do not focus on the protection of the end result after the execution.« less
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  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States