How do I use ARIES?
ARIES intends to put sophisticated modeling capabilities at the fingertips of non-technical users, practitioners and decision makers. It is meant to be usable by anyone with enough experience to read and interpret its results following intuitive workflows consistent with what users normally experience while browsing the Web. At the same time, ARIES runs on one of the most sophisticated modeling platforms in existence, which allows modelers to benefit from a full suite of existing, reusable model and data components accessible through open-source modeling tools and paradigms.
The user side of ARIES is a web interface we call the ARIES explorer, which does not yet have a publicly available prototype. In order to start populating ARIES with data and models, enabling its use and growth, we have strategically prioritized the rollout of technical development tools for the modeling community. We expect to launch usable versions of the ARIES explorer within the next year.
The modeler side of ARIES is the k.LAB software, a well-established set of tools that provides server software for network nodes and modeling engines, and client interfaces that allow users to access the ARIES network, develop models, and annotate data. All the existing ARIES content has been developed using these tools and the k.IM language. The k.LAB interfaces allow their users to do everything that the future ARIES explorer will and much more, but they require relatively intensive training and experience to be learned and used. This site does not document the k.LAB infrastructure; documentation for it is being developed at our future sister site, integratedmodelling.org.
So how do you use ARIES today? While we finish developing the ARIES explorer, your best bet is to attend one of our trainings, where we teach use of the tools and the basics of semantically integrated modeling to audiences from all over the world. If you have relatively extensive experience with computers and modeling, and are not afraid to try something radically new, you can try the k.LAB software. The modeler toolkit does not guide you to do ecosystem services assessments, nor it contains a menu of models you can run. It is a fully general model development environment, meant to provide access to the network and to specialized tools to create and test your own projects. So it is best used by modelers who are well trained in the underlying concepts of semantic modeling or can grasp them easily. If this is you, or you like a challenge, the the steps below will get you running.
- Obtain your credentials with the integratedmodelling.org network at the IM collaboration site. Registration is free and your data are secure and completely private. Your credentials will also allow you access to our wiki space, our issue reporting site, and, with explicit authorization, this site so you can comment on posts and guest blog with us.
- Let us know. Your access to the network is limited unless we authorize you to use the ARIES data and models. If your usage of the network is for non-profit purposes, you will never have to pay for access, but we need to know.
- Download an integratedmodelling.org certificate file from your user profile at the collaboration site, and store it safely.
- Download the client version of the k.LAB integrated development environment from the collaboration site and follow installation instructions.
At this point you will likely have many questions. You can start browsing the knowledge base in our wiki space, or better, come to one of our trainings. Most important, get in touch. We are few and busy, but we try to respond to anyone who has a serious interest. Look for news about the ARIES explorer on this page.