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How best to support scientific end-user software development?

Aleksandra Pawlik, Thursday 3rd June, 14:45 pm - 15:00 pm, Student Presentations 3, JLB Meeting Room 1

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31 May 2010

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Her title of her presentation is slightly different “supporting scientific software development”.  She’ll be talking about her pilot study.

Types of scientific software:

  • Software developed for scientific practice
  • Software developed for a small project e.g. for like a PhD
  • Software developed as a commercialise package i.e. scientists as software developers

Not all software engineering methods and tools are appropriate for scientific software development. Typically, the scientific software may just be for the length of the project funding.

Problems in scientific software development:

  • Specific to scientific software: science changes all the times – i.e. the scientists don’t know what the software has to address in 6 mths to 1 yr. Problems with testing as well.
  • Related to collaboration with scientists and software engineers. The two groups have different approaches to software development/ goals – it creates friction between the two. The scientists only see it as a tool to just get the results – whilst the software engineers wants to provide the best software as possible
  • Emerging from changes in software usage: when the software is being used by a larger community of scientists (than for whom it was originally designed for) particularly with documentation and portability

Her research question is:

What are the best ways of supporting software development? (in terms of software engineering, communication and collaboration)

Her pilot study consisted of 6 semi-structured interviews of scientists who developed software. She used thematic analysis for analysing the data.

Findings: code ownership, legacy and documentation i.e. the scientists want someone to take it over


In terms of the end of results, is it going to be how teams are organised, how software is developed? I would like to focus on the individual learn process

What kind of contribution are you looking at, is it a tool, a process, a collaboration, a new language? That is something that I would be looking at – maybe I’ll be able to identify a new tool or maybe  an indication where to go.

13:48 on 3 June 2010

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Supporting Scientific Software Development

Supporting Scientific Software Development

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