SC17 Denver, CO

Proposal for a Scientific Software Lifecycle Model

Workshop: The 2017 International Workshop on Software Engineering for High Performance Computing in Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (SE-CoDeSE 2017)
Authors: Anshu Dubey (Argonne National Laboratory, University of Chicago)

Abstract: Improvements in computational capabilities have lead to rising complexity in scientific modeling, simulation, and analytics and thus the software implementing them. In addition, a paradigm shift in platform architectures has added another dimension to complexity, to the point where software productivity (or the time, effort, and cost for software development, maintenance, and support) has emerged as a growing concern for computational science and engineering. Clearly communicating about the lifecycle of scientific software provides a foundation for community dialogue about processes and practices for various lifecycle phases that can improve developer productivity and software sustainability---key aspects of overall scientific productivity. While the mainstream software engineering community have produced lifecycle models that meet the needs of software projects in business and industry, none of the available models adequately describes the lifecycle of scientific computing software. In particular, software for end-to-end computations for obtaining scientific results has no formalized development model. Examining development approaches employed by teams implementing large multicomponent codes reveals a great deal of similarity in their strategies. In earlier work, we organized related approaches into workflow schematics, with loose coupling between submodels for development of scientific capabilities and reusable infrastructure. Here we consider an orthogonal approach, formulating models that capture the workflow of software development in slightly different scenarios, and we propose a scientific software lifecycle model based on agile principles.

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