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Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System


CSDMS is a virtual home for a vibrant and growing community of about 1,000 international modeling experts and students who study the dynamic interactions of lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and atmosphere at Earth’s surface. Participating in cross-disciplinary groups, members develop integrated software modules that predict the movement of water, sediment, and nutrients across landscapes and into the ocean. We share an open library of models, software, and access to high-performance computing. We also share knowledge that helps create higher-resolution simulations, often involving higher complexity algorithms. Together, we support the discovery, use, and conservation of natural resources; mitigation of natural hazards; geotechnical support of commercial and infrastructure development; environmental stewardship; and terrestrial surveillance for global security.


  • Produces protocols for community-generated, continuously evolving, open software.
  • Distributes software tools and models.
  • Provides cyber-infrastructure to promote the quantitative modeling of earth surface processes.
  • Addresses the challenging problems of surface-dynamic systems: self-organization, localization, thresholds, strong linkages, scale invariance, and interwoven biology and geochemistry.
  • Enables the rapid development and application of linked dynamic models tailored to specific landscape basin evolution (LBE) problems at specific temporal and spatial scales.
  • Partners with related computational and scientific programs to eliminate duplication of effort and to provide an intellectually stimulating environment.
  • Supports a strong linkage between what is predicted by CSDMS codes and what is observed, both in nature and in physical experiments.
  • Supports imperatives in Earth Science research:
    • Discovery, use, and conservation of natural resources.
    • Characterization and mitigation of natural hazards.
    • Geotechnical support of commercial and infrastructure development.
    • Stewardship of the environment.
    • Terrestrial surveillance for global security.