QPAC uses an innovative 'model as input' approach, with the conceptual and mathematical models forming part of the input. This allows modellers to define the processes to be included in either 'systems-level' or 'detailed research-level' models.
Once a process has been modelled, it can be wrapped as a QPAC module to allow it to be re-used in other applications. Tracer Transport, Thermal, Hydrological, Mechanical, and Reactive Transport modules are currently available. Any number of modules or user models can be combined to represent fully coupled processes.
Its flexibility means that QPAC can be used to address novel problems and conceptual model uncertainty, with new models being developed more rapidly than is possible with traditional methods. Once mature, QPAC models can be used as a basis for the development of custom software, tailored to individual needs. Alternatively, QPAC Player applications can be developed, providing a simple graphical user interface (GUI) that enables users to change key input parameters without the need to have any detailed knowledge about how the model is implemented in QPAC.
Traditional scientific models, which have been developed following standard scientific procedures and protocols, can therefore be turned into dynamic applications for end users. This approach presents an alternative to the development of custom scientific software. Once the underlying model is in place, development times of the GUI are short, providing a cost effective solution. Moreover, no additional software engineering is required, since the model developer is provided with the tools for creating the GUI, removing an extra layer of complexity that could lead to errors and delays.