In line with its ambitious Open Science strategy, ENAC has pioneered direct support for open source code development and maintenance, at the faculty-level. Launched at the end of 2021, the ENAC Open Software & Research Scripts Grants provide technical support from software engineers from ENAC-IT4R for either:
- maintenance, scalability and improvement of open software,
- or publishing open research scripts, following open research principles and software best practices.
The grant provide support in the form of in-kind direct support from ENAC-IT4R team of professional software engineers and developers. With this grant, ENAC really aimed to support the efforts led by PIs on publishing, disseminating and maintaining high quality research scripts and software for their communities. The grant was a clear success with 20 submission from 14 labs; highlighting the need for such technical support for development and maintenance of open software.
Indeed, open software at ENAC is a long-standing practice. Several labs champion in commitment to sharing their code with their communities. To cite just a few, Prof. Martinoli shares Cyberbotics, an open source robot simulator, Prof. Bierlaire offer his Biogeme tool for discrete choice modeling as a Python package, widely used by the transport research community – as the active user group of over 600 members shows. As Prof LeCampion puts it: “Open codes are crucial to spread the use of properly verified numerical models and foster real scientific advances in the field.”; his software PyFrac is used not only by researcher, but also by both practitioners and regulators. This is why Prof. Molinari and his team also maintain several tools (Akantu, Tamaas, Cracklet…), and the lab “has always made open source a priority to ensure reproducibility, as well as rigorous and collaborative coding practices”. They even led to the formation of the Akantu association, a model allowing other labs using the software to financially support its maintenance.
The list of Open research scripts and software developped by ENAC communities is growing, and available here: https://www.epfl.ch/schools/enac/about/open-science/open-research-scripts-software/
We are delighted to announce the 3 projects funded (see bellow); and that more rounds will follow.
Selected projects 2021
A mobile data collection app to boost Ecohydrological Research
Migration from Fortran to Python of an open-source package for composite materials fatigue life prediction
Showcasing an ambitious algorithm for autonomous aerial navigation