The CCSM software engineering effort at NCAR recently underwent fundamental changes. The CCSM Scientific Steering Committee created a CCSM Software Engineering Group (CSEG), led by a Software Engineering Manager. This group has the vital role of coordinating the computational development of model components, overseeing the evolving design of the CCSM, optimizing the model, and preparing releases. The increased accountability and coordination of software engineers within the CCSM project has made it both desirable and possible to reexamine computing practices, and this is ongoing.

We believe that the growing involvement of the CSEG group in project decision-making will lead to a more robust and high-performance CCSM and to more systematic scientific development. However, the expanding role of the CSEG group also requires us to clarify the mission of the SEWG, which, when it was created, was the primary mechanism for organizing computational activities within the CCSM project.

This document briefly outlines a role for the SEWG that is complementary to the CSEG group.

The proposed role for the SEWG is twofold:

1. Involve the broader CCSM community in computational discussions and decision-making, and inform the community of CSEG and SEWG activities.

  • Through regular meetings, the SEWG will involve members of CSEG, other developers, and model users in discussions relating to software engineering management, practices, computational techniques, and other technical and procedural aspects of the CCSM. The SEWG will review CSEG planning and procedural documents, will provide general guidance, and will help set the software engineering priorities of the CCSM.
  • The SEWG will keep abreast of the computational status of the CCSM, and will make both general and specific recommendations with regard to CCSM software improvements. These might be related to code rewrites, hardware optimization, porting, performance, or usability. The SEWG will monitor coordination of CCSM development with close collaborators such as the DOE/NCAR Avant Garde project.
  • The SEWG will work to familiarize the CCSM community with issues relating to CCSM software engineering and the activities of the CSEG group.
  • The SEWG Co-Chairs will report the results of SEWG activities in the form of recommendations to the SSC.

2. Serve as a liaison to external computer science and software engineering efforts, and bring relevant external activities to the attention of the CCSM community.

  • SEWG members may represent the interests of the CCSM at conferences and other activities involving the computational community and will seek opportunities to technically enhance the CCSM. The SEWG will invite participants in relevant computational efforts to speak at SEWG meetings and will facilitate communication among members of the computational community and the software engineers involved with the CCSM.

Through these activities, the SEWG will play a unique and important role in ensuring that the CCSM retains its community focus in the areas of software engineering and computer science. It will also work to increase the awareness of CCSM developers to computational research activities, and will increase the visibility of the CCSM project in the computational arena.

CESM Project

The Community Earth System Model (CESM) is a fully-coupled, global climate model that provides state-of-the-art computer simulations of the Earth's past, present, and future climate states.

CESM is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Administration of the CESM is maintained by the Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory (CGD) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).


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