Recomputation.org

The goal of Recomputation.org is to allow the reproduction of scientific results generated using software by other researchers. Led by Ian Gent from the University of St. Andrews, the aim is to make this process straightforward for both those willing to submit their computational experiments to the Recomputation.org experiment repository, and those wanting to replicate them. The idea is that software is packaged with all its dependencies as a virtual machine, which is hosted on the Recomputation.org site so that others can download it and reproduce the original experiment.

The recomputation manifesto created quite an impact when it was published last year. Written by Ian, it attracted over 10,000 viewers from across the world and caused a huge discussion to take place on social media. The manifesto states that computational experiments should be recomputable for all time, that the virtual machine is the correct mechanism for making experiments recomputable, and that the whole process must be very easy. An easy process requires the preparation and submission of experiments to recomputation.org to be straightforward - and this is what led Ian to collaborate with the Institute.

Our collaboration will also help recomputation.org extend its capability by allowing others to run submitted experiments on the Cloud. This will initially make use of Microsoft Azure, thanks to a competition that recomputation.org successfully applied for, but the infrastructure will eventually be capable of using other Cloud platforms as well. By helping the Recomputation.org team promote their activities and handle these experimental virtual machines in a manageable and scalable way, it will help encourage researchers to preserve their computational experiments for future recomputation by others.