Third International Workshop on Software Engineering for Computational Science and Engineering


May 31, 2010

Co-located with ICCS 2010

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This workshop is concerned with the development of Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) Software. Specifically:
  • Scientific software applications, where the focus is on directly solving scientific problems. These applications include, but are not limited to, large parallel models/simulations of the physical world (high performance computing systems).
  • Applications that support scientific endeavors. Such applications include, but are not limited to, systems for managing and/or manipulating large amounts of data.
Despite its importance, CSE has historically attracted little attention from the software engineering (SE) community. Indeed, the development of CSE software differs significantly from the development of business information systems, from which many of the SE best practices, tools and techniques have been drawn. These differences include, for example:
  • CS&E projects are often exploring unknown science, making it difficult to determine a concrete set of requirements a priori.
  • For the same reason, a test oracle may not exist (for example, the physical data needed to validate a simulation may not exist). The lack of an oracle clearly poses challenges to the development of a testing strategy.
  • The software development process for CS&E application development may differ profoundly from traditional software engineering processes. For example, one scientific computing workflow, dubbed the "lone researcher", involves a single scientist developing a system to test a hypothesis. Once the system runs correctly and returns its results, the scientist has no further need of the system. This approach contrasts with more typical software engineering lifecycle models, in which the useful life of the software is expected to begin, not end, after the first correct execution.
  • CS&E applications often require more computing resources than are available on a typical workstation. Existing solutions for providing more computational resources (e.g., clusters, supercomputers, grids) can be difficult to use, resulting in additional software engineering challenges.
  • CS&E developers may have no formal knowledge of software engineering tools and techniques, and may be developing software in a very isolated fashion. For example, it is common for a single scientist in a lab to take on the (formal or informal) role of software developer and to have to rely solely on web resources to acquire the relevant development knowledge.
Therefore, in order to identify and develop appropriate methods, tools and techniques for CSE software, members of the SE community must interact with members of the CSE community. There is an increasing amount of attention being given to this effort. Recent endeavors to bring the SE and CSE communities together include two special issues of IEEE Software (July/August 2008 and January/February 2009) a special issue of Computing in Science and Engineering (November/December 2009) and this current SECSE workshop series. The 2008 workshop and 2009 workshop brought together computational scientists, software engineering researchers and software developers to explore issues such as:
  • Those characteristics of CS&E which distinguish it from general business software development;
  • The different contexts in which CS&E developments take place;
  • The quality goals of CS&E;
  • How the perceived chasm between the CS&E and software engineering communities might be bridged.
This 2010 workshop will build on the results of the previous workshop by locating it with a Computational Science conference to increase participation of computational scientists.

Similar to the format of the 2009 workshop, in addition to short presentations and discussions of the accepted position papers, significant time during the 2010 workshop will be devoted to the continuation of discussions from previous workshops and to general open discussion.

For more information contact Jeffrey Carver.
Last Updated on May 16, 2010 by Jeffrey Carver