Open Thoughts

Open-source Software for Scientific Computation

Posted by Cheng Soon Ong on September 18, 2009

The First International Workshop on Open-source Software for Scientific Computation starts today in Guiyang, China. It is strongly supported by Scilab and the OW2 consortium, and in fact there is a competition for creating toolboxes in Scilab. From the conference website:

"The aim of OSSC 09 is to provide an international forum of exchanging the knowledge of using open-source software for scientific computation within the communities from education, academics, to industries. We expect contribution papers focusing on the development and applications of open-source software for scientific computation."

As announced earlier in a forum post (the original is here), the paper submission and revision actually happens after the conference. When I first heard about this, I was totally confused, since I'm so used to the machine learning conferences which have submission deadlines a long way before the conference. Then I realised that the projects presented at the conference are based on abstracts only. On one hand, I think this is quite nice, as the full papers submitted after the conference would benefit from the feedback obtained during the conference. On the other hand, this means that for large communities, the conference itself would be extremely huge. Since open source in scientific computing is still a fledgling field, the increase in exposure for young researchers is invaluable and I think this is the right mode of operation. There has been some discussion in machine learning about how to reduce reviewer load, and perhaps one way to do so is to convert to this mode of operation. I'm not sure what this would mean for conference attendance though. More people attending because they only need to submit abstracts? Or less people coming because they do not have an "accepted paper"?


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