Research Software Engineering (RSE)

Community Software Codes

Scientific community software codes are open source software codes that are developed by a global community of scientists as community code based on a formalized review process. This leads to improved quality, higher speed of development, and a level of engagement that is beyond the capability of an individual institution and otherwise difficult to achieve.

Scientific software as infrastructure

Today, certain codes have all the characteristics of a scientific infrastructure: They are critical to the progress in a particular scientific field, they need to be developed and maintained over decades, must meet the highest quality standards, and require documentation and training of young scientists on the instrument. Ultimately, steel and concrete are also needed to house the personnel.

While the development of a scientific code can and should be done by the community, certain tasks required to operate the code as an infrastructure do not fit the responsibilities of scientists and PhD students. These include the coordination of the code review process, the maintenance of the continuous integration and benchmarking platform, refactoring of the code, the preparation and coordination of tutorials and courses, and the preparation of releases. A core RSE (Research Software Engineering ) group with a long-term perspective dedicated to a specific code and well grounded in the scientific domain is therefore required for the successful operation of scientific code as an infrastructure.

The CSD is dedicated to developing the idea of viewing scientific software as infrastructure. While a RSE group needs to be deeply rooted in the scientific domain of the code, any RSE group applies the same methods and essentially needs to solve the same problems. This offers a great potential for the exchange of knowledge and best practices between such groups. In this way, young codes can learn from established ones.

In this concept, a RSE Forum coordinates the exchange between existing RSE groups and constitutes the point of contact for students and young codes to help  make the first steps in the sustainable development of scientific software. A long term goal of the CSD is to not only employ the insights of the emerging field of Research Software Engineering (RSE), but to also establish research on RSE at RWTH.

If you have any further questions please contact the JARA CSD Coordination.

Have a look at further information and an overview of RSE activities in Germany.