The BSSw Fellowship program is pleased to announce support from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The additional funding will increase the 2021 class of Better Scientific Software (BSSw) Fellows from three to four Fellows and Honorable Mentions.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Energy (DOE) are leaders in advanced computing, pushing the growth of computational and data-enabled science and engineering as an essential driver of scientific and technological progress. Moreover, NSF and DOE researchers have developed a wide range of high-impact scientific software for advanced modeling, simulation, discovery, and analysis.
The NSF partnership with DOE in sponsoring the BSSw Fellowship Program will enable a more robust approach toward pioneering the future of advanced computing ecosystems and leadership in science and engineering. The BSSw Fellowship Program enhances workforce development and pathways to NSF and DOE software communities, through nurturing a network of people who advance software practices as a fundamental aspect of increasing overall scientific productivity.
The BSSw Fellowship Program gives recognition and funding to leaders and advocates of high-quality scientific software. Each 2021 Fellow will receive up to $25,000 for an activity that promotes better scientific software, such as organizing a workshop, preparing a tutorial, or creating content to engage the scientific software community.
In addition to the previously announced Fellows and Honorable Mentions, the NSF-sponsored 2021 BSSw Fellowship recipients are:
2021 BSSw Fellow
Amy Roberts, University of Colorado Denver
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics
BSSw Focus: Enabling collaborative work on scientific software through accessible, user-focused version control tutorials
Version control is an essential tool for collaborative work on software, but domain scientists lack the knowledge they need to contribute to these efforts. There are often only a handful of developers who have the skills needed to work collaboratively on software and this limits the sustainability of software efforts that are increasingly crucial to their communities. Existing version control training materials focus either on the underlying theory or a comprehensive overview of version control. Such material can be inaccessible to new developers if they cannot identify what information is applicable to their specific problem.
Amy is developing accessible, user-focused tutorials on version control that give scientists the information they need to contribute to shared software. The version control tutorials will center around common user stories and directly address how a scientist should interact with version control to work collaboratively in common science scenarios. Art that illustrates broader ideas will be commissioned and tested along with the tutorials to help new users translate everyday concepts into the equivalent version control terminology.
Amy is an assistant professor of physics at the University of Colorado Denver where she leads a research group focused on dark matter detection. She searches for dark matter signals and works to build accessible computing ecosystems. Amy also serves as an editor for the Journal of Open Source Software and believes that complete, usable software infrastructure - together with accessible training and documentation - are necessary for a successful and equitable scientific community.
2021 BSSw Honorable Mention
Julia Stewart Lowndes, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), UC Santa Barbara
Julia Stewart Lowndes, PhD founded Openscapes to champion kinder, better science in less time. A marine ecologist, she has shifted from doing her own research to empowering research teams with skill sets and mindsets for open, collaborative, and reproducible research. She is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California Santa Barbara, was a 2019 Mozilla Fellow, and earned her PhD from Stanford University in 2012 studying drivers and impacts of Humboldt squid in a changing climate. Focused on fostering diverse, inclusive, and leaderful open data science and scientific software communities, she is a R community contributor through rOpenSci and RStudio, a Carpentries Instructor, and co-founder Eco-Data-Science and R-Ladies Santa Barbara. Recent open data science contributions include pieces in Scientific American, Nature, Nature Ecology & Evolution, keynotes at the 2019 useR! Conference and 2020 Earth Science Information Partners Conference, and the R for Excel Users workshop at the 2020 RStudio Conference.
About the BSSw Fellowship
The main goal of the BSSw Fellowship Program is to foster and promote practices, processes, and tools to improve developer productivity and software sustainability of scientific codes. BSSw Fellows are selected annually based on an application process that includes the proposal of an activity that promotes better scientific software. Subscribe to the BSSw email digest for notification about next year’s call for applications, which will be announced in summer 2021. More information:
Stay tuned for more from the 2021 BSSw Fellows.
Contribute to the BSSw site
Also, we want and need contributions from the international community for the BSSw site. If you have expertise that can help other scientific software teams, we encourage you to contribute an article or pointer to good work. See details on how to contribute to BSSw.
Hai Ah Nam is coordinator of the BSSw Fellowship Program, a member of the IDEAS-ECP team, and a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her background includes computational low-energy nuclear physics, large-scale scientific computing, and high-performance computing. She is an advocate for developer productivity and software sustainability and has been one of the organizers of the Performance, Portability and Productivity in HPC Forum for four years.