Getting started with k.LAB

The k.LAB technology and all the projects built with it (such as ARIES) serve the needs of both users and producers of integrated data and model content. Data and model producers need specialized tools to import, annotate, and publish data and models on the k.LAB semantic web, which makes them easier to share, reuse, and link. Meanwhile, users will want to produce assessments and explore scenarios, which can be done using a web-accessible application we call k.Explorer. Therefore, the only tool users need to access k.LAB’s linked data and models is a modern web browser, such as Chrome or Firefox.

Currently, the Integrated Modeling Partnership does not provide public access to a cloud-based installation of k.Explorer (which would let you run k.Explorer by simply opening a web browser and typing in the appropriate URL). While this will certainly change in the future, providing such services requires significant resources; this approach will probably become available to selected users before we can provide it to all.

We thus distribute a small software package called the k.LAB Control Center, which simplifies and manages the installation, update, and execution of a dedicated modeling engine on each user’s machine. The engine provides the network-accessible k.Explorer for each user who runs it; you can connect to it through a local link in your web browser. To support the needs of students, academics, modelers, and others interested in producing and customizing data and models, the control center also provides access to k.Modeler, our integrated development environment for k.LAB content.

The rest of this page explains how to download and use the Control Center.

This software, like the rest of k.LAB, is a preview release intended for demonstration and use in courses or collaborations. In this early phase it is important that all updates be applied as soon as they become available.
All previous releases of both k.LAB and the k.LAB Control Center are deprecated and will no longer work.

The k.LAB Control Center

The k.LAB Control Center manages the authentication, download, update and execution of all k.LAB products (described below),including the k.LAB engine (with its web-based user interface, k.Explorer) and themodeler’s user interface (k.Modeler). On systems where you can use a Control Center installer (shown below), it is not necessaryto have Java installed, as the Control Center can download it transparently if needed.

To download, install, and launch the Control Center:

On Windows:

  • Download the Windows installer and run it. The installer only writes to the user’s “appdata” directory, so it should notrequire administrator permissions to run. After installation, k.LAB will be available in your application menu.

On Linux:

  • Download the Debian package and run it installer as normal user. The k.LAB Control Center will be available in your application menu. If your system cannot handle a Debian package, proceed using the zip or tar file as described below.

On MacOSX:

  • Download the  MacOS installer, mount it and drag the k.LAB icon into the Applications folder. The k.LAB Control Center will be available in your applications folder.

If the Windows/Linux/MacOSX installers cannot be used for any reason:

  • Ensure that Java version 1.8 (or higher) is installed on your machine. A 64-bit architecture and Java virtual machine (JVM) arerequired. The system currently runs on Java 8; version 9 or higher will create problems for some important functionalities.We plan to make k.LAB Java 12-compliant in 2020.
  • Download and unpack the Zip archive or the tar.gz archive.
  • Change directory to where you unzipped the archive and either run java -cp libs -jarklab.controlcenter.jar from a terminal or double-click the jar file.
    If the zip version is usedon Linux or MacOSX, file permissions are lost on unzip, so you will need to run chmod+x klab.controlcenter.jar in a terminal.

Once installed, you can open the Control Center, which will show a small window with all the commands you need. The picture below serves as both illustration and quick reference manual for the Control Center:

The k.LAB Control Center – Graphical user’s guide

The main operations in the Control Center are authentication and synchronization of the k.LAB software and execution of the k.LAB Engine (and possibly the Modeler). You usually authenticate only once. You should download all updates that become available: while k.LAB is under active development and in pre-release status, the software will change quickly and compatibility between software builds is likely but not guaranteed. Once all updates are downloaded, you can launch or stop the k.Explorer or k.Modeler products as needed.

Authentication

In order to authenticate, you need a certificate that you can drag and drop onto the Control Center’s authentication area.

  • Obtain a valid IM certificate at https://integratedmodelling.org/hub. Thisstep will eventually be incorporated in the Control Center as well. You can only download a certificate for individual and non-profit use as explained in our End User License Agreement (EULA), which you will have to accept before downloading: we welcome other uses, including for-profit businesses and consultants under ad hoc EULAs. Please write us at info (at) integratedmodelling.org for details.
  • With the Control Center open, drag the certificate file over the certificate area. The certificate will be validated and installed in the k.LAB work directory.This operation is only necessary once per certificate life span (certificates are good for one year and can be renewed as described in your EULA).
  • Unless you received a custom registration link to access a project, ensure that you belong to the user groups that give accessto the resources (data and models) you are interested in using on the k.LAB network. Specifically, using the ARIES project requires membership in the ARIES group (you should see the ARIES logo in the Control Center next to your certification information). If you do not see the logo, or do not see the ARIES pre-defined queries when pressing the space bar in k.Explorer’s search bar, ask to be added at info (at) integratedmodelling.org.