Developing software for a scientific community: some challenges and solutions

Segal, Judith A. and Morris, Chris (2011). Developing software for a scientific community: some challenges and solutions. In: Leng, Joanna and Sharrock, Wes eds. Handbook of Research on Computational Science and Engineering: Theory and Practice, Volume 1. USA: IGI Global, pp. 177–196.



There are significant challenges in developing scientific software for a broad community. In this chapter, we discuss how these challenges are somewhat different both from those encountered when a scientist end-user developer develops software to address a very specific scientific problem of his/her own, and from those encountered in many commercial developments. However, many developers of scientific community software are steeped in the culture of either scientific end-user or commercial development. As we shall discuss herein, neither background provides sufficient experience so as to meet the challenges of developing software for a scientific community. We make various proposals as to which development approaches, methods, techniques and tools might be useful in this context, and just as importantly, which might not.

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