2013 International Workshop on Software Engineering for Computational Science and Engineering

Saturday May 18, 2013

In Conjunction with ICSE 2013

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  • We are pleased to announce that the following paper won both the Best Paper Award and the Best Presentation Award:
    • Implementing Continuous Integration Software in an Established Computational Chemistry Software Package - Robin M. Betz and Ross C. Walker 


This workshop is concerned with identifying and understanding the unique aspects of software development for Computational Science & Engineering (CSE) applications. Specifically, we are focused on:
  • Scientific or engineering software applications, where the focus is on directly solving scientific or engineering problems. These applications range from large, parallel models/simulations of the physical world using high performance computing systems to smaller scale simulations developed by a single scientist or engineer on a desktop machine.
  • Applications that support scientific endeavors. Such applications include, but are not limited to, systems for managing and/or manipulating large amounts of data and systems that provide infrastructure for scientific or engineering applications.
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:
  • CSE 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.
  • A CSE project’s lifecycle is likely to differ from traditional models. For example, in one workflow (“lone researcher”), a single scientist develops software to test a hypothesis and then discards the software. As another example, some projects can last ten years or more and are in constant development throughout.
  • 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.
  • Many CSE software developers are experts – often with a PhD in the underlying scientific or engineering domain – but have little formal training in SE tools and techniques. It’s not uncommon for a single scientist to take on the role of software developer and rely solely on the internet to acquire relevant software development knowledge.
New researchers are coming into this line of research and are often unaware of each other’s work. There is no one preferred journal for publication or other readily found source for researchers with this common interest. So this meeting is an important focal point. We intend to spread a wide net, encouraging attendance from researchers in the many areas of computational science as well as software engineering, and educators teaching computer science/software engineering to computational science students. One of the main objectives is to provide an opportunity for these scattered communities of researchers to coalesce into a single community.

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, 2009 workshop, 2010 workshop and 2011 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 2013 workshop will build on the results of the previous workshop by returning to the International Conference on Software Engineering

Similar to the format of the previous workshops, in addition to short presentations and discussions of the accepted position papers, significant time will be devoted to the continuation of discussions from previous workshops and to general open discussion. Topics that were discussed in previous workshops include:
  • Unique characteristics of CSE software that affect software development choices.
  • Appropriate context dimensions to describe CSE software.
  • Major software quality goals of CSE software.
  • Crossing the communication chasm between SE and CSE.
  • Measuring the impact of SE on scientific productivity.
  • How to effectively test CSE software.
  • CSE Software development tool and method needs.
For more information contact Jeffrey Carver.
Last Updated on May 21, 2012 by Jeffrey Carver