Vis 2008: Open Source it!

I entered the room of the Flow Visualization session barely in time to hear someone ask Christoph Garth to publish his code. YES! Only one session I have been on has not had at least someone ask this. If authors are not required to publish the code from which reviewers can check the assertions, we should at least make them think about doing so, by asking them at every session 🙂

And lest you think enforcing the publishing of code with papers is unfeasible, it has been tried before. SIGMOD 2008 actually had repeatability requirements (FAQ) which included submitting experimental evidence in the form of code, executables, and dataset.

So, ask for code!


2 responses to “Vis 2008: Open Source it!

  1. This is something Gordon has been harping on for years, and something I echo as well. Of course, code is not enough—data and process are needed to for full reproducibility. VisTrails or the PSet stuff I did will do for the latter, but the author would still need to provide the first two.

  2. carlosscheidegger

    Yeah – Gordon has done awesome work on reproducing his paper images _down to the individual pixels_, which is much better than anything I have done.

    With respect to data, you’re absolutely right, but putting the files online is typically enough (like we have for the histograms paper this year).

    And to plug our own stuff, VisTrails actually now comes with a means to automatically grab the code it might need (using apt on ubuntu, for example). But your main point stands – process and parameters are only half the story. Even though we history/provenance/metadata people love to talk about those, the code itself is the necessary other half.

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