Wasserwirtschaft und Hydrosystemmodellierung

Dr.-Ing. Vikram Notay

Model Coupling in Hydroinformatics Systems Through the Use of Autonomous Tensor Objects

The work was conducted between 2008 and 2015 at the Chair of Environmental Informatics, Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Process Engineering, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus -Senftenberg and at the Chair of Water Resources Management and Modelingof Hydrosystems, Institute of Civil Engineering, Faculty VI Planning Building Environment, Technische Universität Berlin.

Day of scientific discussion: 10. July 2015


  • apl. Prof. Frank Molkenthin
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing Reinhard Hinkelmann, Technische Universität Berlin



There is an increased focus on interdisciplinary research in hydroinformatic related projects for applications such as integrated water resources management, climate change modelling, etc. The solution of common problems in interdisciplinary projects requires the integration of hydroinformatic models into hydroinformatic systems by coupling of models, enabling them to efficiently share and exchange information amongst themselves.

Coupling of models is a complex task and involves various challenges. Such challenges arise due to factors such as models required to be coupled together lacking coupling capabilities, different models having different internal data formats, lack of a coupling mechanism, etc. From the perspective of physics, different models may use different discretisations in space and time, operate on different scales in space and time, etc.

A model coupling concept using a coupling broker, that is independent from the coupled models, has been developed in this work and been implemented as a prototype for a software framework for coupling hydroinformatic models. It is based on the approach of tensor objects and the ideas of the OpenMI standard for model coupling. Tensor objects are a complete representation of physical state variables including dimensions, units, values, coordinate systems, geometry, topology and metadata. They are autonomous entities that can adapt themselves to the requirements of coupled models through operations such as scaling, mapping, interpolation in space and time, etc. The central entity in coupling is the Tensor Exchange Server, which acts as the coupling broker. It is responsible for defining the coupling mechanism, brokering the communication between the models and adapting the information to the requirements of the coupled models by taking advantage of the functionality provided by tensor objects. By fulfilling these roles in coupling, the coupling broker concept goes one step further than tools such as the OpenMI standard and facilitates the task of coupling models since each coupled model doesn’t individually need to be adapted to be able to perform these tasks on its own.

The usefulness of the coupling broker concept for coupling models is demonstrated with the help of three application examples: firstly, a subsurface-flow model coupled with a model simulating metabolism in the hyporheic zone, secondly, a sub- surface-flow model coupled with a surface-flow model and finally, an information management system presenting the results of a hydrodynamic simulation of a section of the river Rhine. These examples demonstrate the extensibility and flexibility of the presented coupling concept, which can be used to couple multiple hydroinform atic models in hydroinformatic systems.