What I Learned from 20 Years of Leading Open Source Projects

Wolfgang Bangerth, Colorado State University

What I Learned from 20 Years of Leading Open Source Projects

The IDEAS Productivity project, in partnership with the DOE Computing Facilities of the ALCF, OLCF, and NERSC and the DOE Exascale Computing Project (ECP) has resumed the webinar series on Best Practices for HPC Software Developers, which we began in 2016.

As part of this series, we offer one-hour webinars on topics in scientific software development and high-performance computing, approximately once a month. The August webinar is titled What I Learned from 20 Years of Leading Open Source Projects, and will be presented by Wolfgang Bangerth (Colorado State University). The webinar will take place on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 at 1:00 pm CT. Note: this webinar will start one hour later than the usual time.


Scientific software has grown from loose collections of individual routines working on relatively simple data structures to very large packages of 100,000s to millions of lines of code, with dozens of contributors, and hundreds or thousands of users. In the process, the approaches to software development have also drastically changed: both the software packages as well as their development are professionally managed, with version control, extensive test suites, and automatic regression checks for every patch. Maybe more interestingly, the approaches to managing the *community* of software developers and users have also dramatically changed.

Having led two large, open source software projects (the finite element package deal.II, and the Advanced Simulator for Problems in Earth ConvecTion ASPECT) for more than 20 years, the presenter will share lessons learned about both the technical management of scientific software projects, as well as the social side of these projects.