Josef Weinbub

Sunrise.jpgBy Josef Weinbub, Institute for Microelectronics, Technische Universität Wien

This article is part of our series: a day in the software life. In this series, we will be asking researchers from all disciplines to discuss the tools that make their research possible.

We research software engineers live in great times. Granted, our work is not as valued as it should be and we struggle for funding. However, looking at the vast availability of free open source tools available today, we are in an excellent position to cut ourselves loose from the shackles of proprietary software. To provide you with some context: I use and develop free open-source tools in the field of semiconductor device and software simulation.

For this, my colleagues and I use deterministic approaches such as Finite Difference, Element and Volume schemes to discretise partial differential equations. We also employ stochastic approaches, such as Monte Carlo…

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OpenAndClosed2.jpgBy Josef Weinbub, Institute for Microelectronics, Technische Universität Wien

The simulation of semiconductor devices and processes in academia lacks support for the open-source movement. Consequently, simulation tools are implemented over and over again by different research groups, constantly reinventing the wheel and wasting time and effort that could be used to move the field forward. A reluctance to share code with the community further contributes to the problem. What's going on?

After three years of pursuing a doctoral degree in semiconductor device and process simulation, I came to the conclusion that researchers in this particular field are missing out on significant benefits that could be obtained by collaborative work on software using an open source model. There are several different groups around the world conducting research in this rather specialised field, and the majority of them develop and maintain their own in-house simulation code.

What has struck me is the reluctance within this community to share code. We need to move out of this pattern of secrecy to prevent unnecessary code re-implementation. It reduces the time spent on research, and…

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