Data Analytics and Neutrons Seminar - ORNL's Scientific Software Initiative: How to respond when your boss says "Go create a software community!" | Shull Wollan Center
A number of years ago I had the distinct pleasure of hearing my boss say "Go create a software community!" It wasn't clear to either of us at the time what this meant or what the road to success would look like. We couldn't even - and still haven't! - assign a successful deadline for completion. We also didn't have a good grasp on the size of the community. As a final challenge, communities are organically grown based on trust, empowerment, shared consciousness and any number of other factors, which is to say quite unlike rigid, rectilinear line organizations. None of this uncertainty was frightening, but at the same time none of it was particularly encouraging for our prospects.
This talk examines the creation of ORNL's Scientific Software Initiative which seeks to build a community for ORNL's software engineers, develop new metrics and attribution models for assigning credit for research software engineering activities, provide training and continuing education opportunities, and to take on strategic software projects and proposals when possible. I will discuss the origins of the SSI, lots of interesting happenings to date and presently - including the new ORNL Software Portal, the return of ORNL's Software Expo, the @ORNLSoftware twitter channel, etc. - and the future of the Initiative in terms of both the community at large and the line organization behind it: the Scientific Software Development Team within the Computer Science and Mathematics Division. I will close the talk with a brief description of the SSI's work outside of ORNL and provide details on how to engage for those interested.