Community Modeling and Analysis System

Introduction to the Sparse Matrix Operator Kernel Emissions (SMOKE) Model - Online Version


Availability | About the Course | Meet the Trainers | Payment Info | Registration | Prerequisites | Contact info


The table below lists the dates of the upcoming Introduction to SMOKE online classes along with the enrollment status in each class. When enrollment is full, we will no longer accept applications for the class and the status column in the table will display that the class is full.

The class is subject to cancellation if there are not enough registered students. A minimum of 6 trainees must be registered to conduct a training.

Dates Status Space Left Price  
Apr 16 - Apr 19, 2024 Online Open 14 seats $600 (regular) / $450 (student) Register Now
Oct 15 - Oct 18, 2024 Online Open 18 seats $600 (regular) / $450 (student) Register Now

About the Course

The online version of the Introduction to SMOKE course uses the same materials and follows the same format as our popular classroom version of the course. The online class combines pre-recorded lectures with hands-on computer exercises to teach students how to configure and run the SMOKE programs and to examine the input and output files from the software. The class introduces students to the basics of air pollutant emissions modeling and how to process emissions data through SMOKE. Students are guided through exercises to inspect the various input files for SMOKE, including emission inventory data, chemical speciation data, temporal profiles, and spatial surrogates. The hands-on exercises are structured around processing the different types of inventories with SMOKE: area/nonpoint, on-road mobile with MOVES, point, and biogenics. The hands-on exercises also include labs on merging multiple source categories together and using SMOKE to generate customized QA reports.

A live training facilitator and virtual office hours with experienced SMOKE modelers are available to provide the best possible experience to the students taking the class. The training facilitator is available throughout the course via an instant messaging chat room to help students work through technical questions with the training materials. Virtual office hours during each day of the course offer live chat and video conferencing with experienced SMOKE modelers. The office hours are a great opportunity for students to ask questions about the training, SMOKE, and emissions modeling.

Students have four days to complete the course and during that time are provided access to online and print versions of the SMOKE training manual, online lectures, and preconfigured virtual training computers. A virtual computer lab, available through Amazon AWS, gives each student a Linux box loaded with all of the data and software needed to complete this course.

The syllabus is shown below to highlight the range of topics covered during the course. After an introduction to the online training materials, including instructions and support for connecting to the virtual computing lab, the course starts with a lecture on the basics of SMOKE, including an overview of emissions modeling, an introduction to the SMOKE programs, and a description of the course structure. The Hands-on laboratories have each student working on a computer pre-loaded with the course training materials. The labs focus on configuring and running the SMOKE programs and examining the input and output files to give students practical experience using SMOKE.

At the completion of this course, students will be able to download, configure, and run the SMOKE programs. They will possess the knowledge and practical experience needed to prepare input files for SMOKE and to produce emissions input files for the CMAQ air quality model.

Pre-course Software Needs

SMOKE is a Linux command-line based system. The CMAS Center provides pre-configured Linux images through Amazon Web Services (AWS) with all of the materials needed to complete the hands-on labs for this training. Each participant will need software on their systems to remotely access their AWS images.


You need to have an X-client and SSH-client (e.g. MobaXterm) installed on your Windows machine to access remote Linux servers.


X and SSH clients are already installed on Linux and most MacOS systems. If you don't have an X client on your Mac, download and install XQuartz.

All registered students will receive additional instructions for accessing a test AWS image and the online training materials within a week of the online course start date.

Course Schedule and Syllabus

For the online training, access to Amazon AWS images and the Canvas Course Content Manager will be available for the duration of the course. One week prior to the course the students will have the opportunity to login to the Canvas Course Manager, to test out the Amazon AWS image, and test their connection to Zoom.

There are three virtual meetings when the instructor will provide live instructions to all online participants. During the first 30 minutes the instructor will give a slide presentation on the logistics and course material. The remaining time is for questions, answers and troubleshooting.

The following is a general schedule of the SMOKE Online Training interactive resources:

  • Day 1 - AM Live Introduction Webinar, 10:30-11:30 am ET, Introduction to SMOKE Training Online
  • Day 2 - Live Help Webinar, 2-3 pm ET
  • Day 3 - Live Help Webinar, 2-3 pm ET
  • Days 1-3 - Chat Room, 9 am - 5 pm, ET; CMAS Trainers will be available to moderate the course interactive discussions and answer questions

All lecture slides used during the interactive discussions will archived and available for download to the course participants.

Introduction to SMOKE Syllabus
Topic Format Description
Introduction to the Online TrainingLive Video Conference/Chat Video conference with the training facilitator and CMAS emissions modelers to introduce students to the class. In this module students will learn how to navigate the online training materials and resources.
Fundamentals of Emissions Processing Lecture Introduction to emissions processing concepts and terminology.
Emissions Processing with SMOKE Lecture Introduction to the SMOKE software and EPA's emissions modeling platforms.
Getting StartedHands-on Lab Hands-on introduction to the CMAS virtual training machines, Unix commands, and the SMOKE operating environment.
Nonpoint Sources Lecture Discussion of nonpoint emission sources and processing.
Processing a Nonpoint Sector (Residential Wood Combustion)Hands-on Lab Hands-on processing of nonpoint emissions with SMOKE.
Alternatives to Processing Every Day Lecture Describes available temporal processing options.
Additional Nonpoint Sectors (Nonroad, Solvents)Hands-on Lab Hands-on processing of two additional nonpoint sectors with SMOKE using different temporal processing options.
Point Sources Lecture Discussion of point emission sources and processing.
Processing a Point Sector (Airports)Hands-on Lab Hands-on processing of point emissions with SMOKE.
Creating Inline Plume Rise Inputs for CMAQ Lecture Discusses how to use SMOKE to create inline plume rise inputs for CMAQ.
Processing Additional Point Source Sectors (Non-IPM, Oil & Gas)Hands-on Lab Hands-on processing of additional point sectors with SMOKE using inline plume rise.
Processing Hourly CEMs DataLecture Discussion of how to incorporate hourly emissions data for EGU point sources.
Point Source EGU SectorHands-on Lab Hands-on processing of EGU point sources with hourly data.
Biogenic EmissionsLecture Discussion of how biogenic emissions are estimated using BEIS4 and processed in SMOKE.
Biogenic Emissions with BEIS4Hands-on Lab Hands-on biogenic emissions processing using the BEIS4 model in SMOKE.
Onroad Mobile Sources with SMOKE-MOVESLecture Discussion of the SMOKE-MOVES framework for processing onroad mobile source emissions.
Onroad Mobile Source ProcessingHands-on Lab Hands-on processing of onroad mobile source emissions with SMOKE using MOVES emission factors.
Merging SectorsLecture Discussion of final merge step after individual sector emissions are processed.
Merging SectorsHands-on Lab Hands-on merging of sectors previously processed during the training labs.

Meet the Trainers

Catherine Seppanen Research Associate, Institute for the Environment

Lead Software Developer Catherine Seppanen has more than 20 years of experience in software development. Her development expertise includes a wide range of programming languages (Python, JavaScript, Swift, Kotlin, Java) and technologies (PostgreSQL, PostGIS, Angular, iOS, Android, Amazon Web Services, Google Maps). She recently completed a web application for NYSERDA for evaluating policy impacts on local air pollution, including integrating health and economic impacts. Other work includes active development of an iOS application for estimating personal air pollution exposure, and concurrent development of iOS and Android apps for reporting environmental odors. Ms. Seppanen also leads development on the Emissions Modeling Framework (EMF), a Java-based client-server system supporting EPA's emissions modeling efforts.

Liz Adams

Liz Adams, MS Research Associate, Center for Environmental Modeling for Policy Development

Ms. Adams has over 10 years of experience in model applications, model evaluation, and debugging support to developers of air quality modeling systems. Ms. Adams prepares model documentation, and performs web-based software management, software installation and testing across multiple platforms (Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows) to support public release of the Visualization Environment for Rich Data Interpretation (VERDI) tool. Ms. Adams has installed the Sparse Matrix Operator Kernel Emissions (SMOKE) training software, data and ancillary software tools to a compute server on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for an online SMOKE training course. Ms. Adams is experienced with using Python, QGIS, Panoply, IDV, VERDI, the Atmospheric Model Evaluation Tool (AMET), and Ncview to visualize and analyze NetCDF data from the CMAQ modeling system and comparing the results to data from the observational networks. She supports the CMAS Statistical and Graphical Analysis Tools training course by preparing, testing and porting input data and scripts for VERDI and AMET to the Virtual Computing Laboratory environment, preparing and delivering classroom lectures, and providing hands-on training support to students.

Payment Info

The course includes all training materials, preconfigured training machines, live techincal support, the current SMOKE Training Manual, and access to experienced SMOKE modelers. Payment is accepted with credit card or purchase order. Note that you are asked to make the payment or initiate the payment process (e.g. by providing the purchase order number) at the time of registration. We will send you a receipt by email to confirm the receipt of the registration and payment. If you find later that you are unable to attend to the class after registration, notify the CMAS Center as soon as possible. Please see our Payment Info page for our refund policy.


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A basic knowledge of emissions and air quality modeling concepts will help students to get the most out of this course. The course covers emissions modeling terminology and basic general concepts about emissions data, but the focus is mostly on the operational details of SMOKE. A background in emissions or air quality will provide context for the need for using SMOKE.

Knowledge of the Linux command line language and the C-shell are also prerequisites for this course. Students with a working understanding of navigating Linux directory structures, viewing/editing text files, and executing commands from a Linux command prompt will benefit more from this class than students with no Linux experience.

Students must have a computer connected to the Internet that includes a Secure Shell client and an X-Window client. Instructions for downloading and installing these clients for different operating systems will be provided before the class begins.

Contact Information

For more information on the SMOKE training, please contact Brian Naess at 919-966-9925 or email