New category for open source codes

Mogadalai Gururajan's picture

Update: An Open Source Review page has been created. Please feel free to leave links, codes and comments on the page. 

Dear Mechanicians,

I have seen that there is lot of code sharing among the mechanicians at iMechanica; a search for the word "code" for example produces nearly fifty entries, of which, I believe, at least half of the posts are pointers to codes and their sharing.

Recently, I also had an interesting exchange with Biswajit regarding having a repository of codes of interest to mechanicians at iMechanica.

I have noticed several such open source codes for microstructural evolution on the net, for example, all of which I listed in this post.

I believe (and, I think many of the members of iMechanica share this opinion) that sharing codes among oursleves is the best way to make sure that any bugs in our codes will be weeded out fast; in addition, sharing codes also helps avoid duplication of work, and increases overall confidence in simulation and modelling; finally, it makes reproducibility of simulation and modelling results very easy, so that more and more people will start using this methodology in their research. 

To this end, I am suggesting adding a special category (tentatively called Open Source--your suggestions as to the name are welcome) to the existing ones at the iMechanica header, where, mechanicians can discuss, share and collaborate on developing and using codes of interest to all of us; the codes can be posted under whatever license the author deems fit--though, personally, I believe GPL is ideal. The codes need not be at the cutting edge of research (since, as Biswajit notes, such codes are poorly documented (not a priority) and are of interest to a few), though having sharing some cutting edge research code might lead to fruitful collaborations.

So, if you think this is a good idea, please leave a note in the comments section--if there is sufficient response, we can create such a category. In addition, if you have any suggestions and ideas about the category, its working, or any concerns you may have about sharing codes, note them also in the comments.

With regards,

Guru 


Arun K. Subramaniyan's picture

Open source code category is a good idea

Mogadalai, 

I think having a category for open source codes is a good idea. The title "Open Source" is very broad and since we are only listing open source codes here, it would be more appropriate to have "Open Source Software (or Codes)" as the title.  We can link to related codes in other open source repositories like openscience.org as well. I do agree that GPL is ideal for such a setting, but as you said, it should be left to the authors' preference.


good idea

To share open source code is absolutely a good idea.

Sometimes it is so hard to get open source code even for very old and mature algorithm, which may produce a lot of repeated work. This shouldn't happen in modern society.


Zhigang Suo's picture

How to impelement a section on open source code?

Dear Guru and All: 

This is an excellent idea!  How should we implement this idea on iMechanica?  Here are several obvious options:

  1. Forum.  We have a set of forums.  It is a simple matter to add one more with a title like Open Source Software.
  2. Channel.  We have a set of channels.  They are tags featured in the header of iMechanica.  This option is tricky:  the space in the header is precious.  
  3. Post.  This can be updated by a small group of people, with links to other posts on iMechanica, or other sites on the Internet.  An example is the archive of the Journal Club , which appears on the right side of iMechanica, in the section "Quick guide".

I look forward to seeing your thoughts on these and other options.


Mogadalai Gururajan's picture

Archived post for open source code looks like a good idea

Dear Prof. Suo,

I think that the archived post format might be a good idea (with a link in the quick guide). Ideally, a channel should be the way to go. But until there is enough activity, we can put that on hold.

Some of us can do (say, a monthly round-up) posts about the software in iMechanica and elsewhere on the web, as Arun also suggested. I think we can call the post Open Source Software, as Arun suggested, again.

Finally, I want to note that apart from modelling ans simulation, there are plenty of codes written to analyse experimental results and to do theoretical calculations. Open Source Software might be the right place to share them too.


Arun K. Subramaniyan's picture

Link on the quick guide sounds good

Dear Prof. Suo and Guru,

I also think that the archived post with a link in the quick guide would be easy enough to access.  I agree with Guru's suggestion for organizing the posts. A neatly organized set of codes is always better to search than an unorganized repository. 


Zhigang Suo's picture

A quick guide to open-source software in mechanics

Guru:  I've added a link in "Quick guide" called Open source review.   Please go ahead to edit this page.  At this moment, all moderators can edit this page.  I've also added Arun as a moderator, so that he can collaborate with you in editing this page. 

We can evolve a more effective way to update this page as we go along.