What are we?

The raison d’etre of COLABS is the stewardship of scientific software. Research software engineers (RSEs) are central to our approach to this challenge. We envision a cadre of experienced and knowledgeable RSEs guiding and assisting scientific software projects in improving their software development practices and the quality, maintainability, and robustness of the code according to the particular needs of each project. We also plan a strong program of training and outreach, which will include developing an educational pipeline to help build the RSE workforce. There will also be a modest research and development component into the “science of scientific software” to support the overall mission.

COLABS is currently primarily a concept. We are one of six projects recently awarded a small planning grant by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) on software ecosystem sustainment (covered in the trade press here and here). These “seed” projects are essentially planning grants, giving an opportunity to refine our concepts and begin building out real “software sustainability organizations” (SSOs). We hope to start standing up a real SSO for COLABS in the 2024 time frame.

The COLABS concept is designed to be scalable in multiple dimensions, including sponsors. So in time, we hope to be able to expand beyond ASCR support too.

Who are we?

COLABS was founded by a team from Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and as part of our planning activities, we have been expanding our team to cover an institutional footprint that similar to that of the projects we plan to support.

Institution Principal Investigator Additional Personnel
Founding Members    
Argonne National Laboratory Anshu Dubey (Lead PI) Kevin Harms, Rinku Gupta
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Dan Gunter Richard Gerber, John MacAuley, Keith Beattie
Oak Ridge National Laboratory David E. Bernholdt Bronson Messer
Additional Members    
Brookhaven National Laboratory Meifeng Lin  
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory David A. Beckingsale  
Los Alamos National Laboratory Tarun Prabhu  
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Ken Roche Carina Lansing
Sandia National Laboratories James M. Willenbring  

As we continue our planning activities and start building the “real” software sustainability organization, we will be adding additional partners, including the following roles:

  • Institutions providing research software engineering services as part of COLABS,
  • Partners in our training and outreach initiatives,
  • Partners in our research and development initiative,

and others as we identify new needs.

We think of the scientific software projects that we will assist as clients rather than members of the COLABS organization per se. We are happy to talk to project teams about our concept and your input will help us flesh out our design for COLABS. But we are currently in a planning phase and are not ready to “sign up” client projects yet.

Why are we here?

The primary purpose of our web presence, for now, is to provide information about COLABS as we work with our sponsors and the community to refine our concept during the planning phase. Come back often for updates.

  • The proposal for our seed project provides the best description we have currently of the COLABS concept.
  • The Leadership Scientific Software Portal (LSSw) is the current “meeting point” for the six “seed” projects. The site provides links to the various individual project teams, information on events and meet-up opportunities, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

See our responses to some of the questions we’ve received from the community about COLABS. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!