William Stein, Fernando Perez, and I are founding a non-profit foundation for mathematical and scientific research computing. William Stein is an Professor of Mathematics at the University of Washington. He also leads the Sage project, which is one of the most important open source libraries for mathematical computing. Fernando Perez is a research scientist who recently switched fields (physics to neuroscience) and now works with me at Berkeley. Fernando is also the lead developer of IPython.
The foundation will initially focus on Python, rather than other languages for scientific computing such as R or Scilab. Despite this initial focus on Python, the foundation's mission will not be merely to promote the use of Python in science.
As research grows increasingly dependent on computing, it becomes critical for our computational resources to be developed with the same rigor, open review and access as the results they support. For this reason, we will actively promote:
- sharing of scientific software, data and knowledge necessary for reproducible research
- unrestricted access to research outcomes and educational tools
- open source software developed by collaborative, meritocratic communities
- academic recognition of computational developments on equal footing to the publication of results
- openly tested, validated and documented software as the basis for reliable scientific outcomes
- high standards of computational literacy in the education of mathematicians, scientists and engineers
In this talk, I will describe the history and mission of the foundation, our initial operation and fund raising plans, and how to become involved. As the purpose of the foundation is largely aimed at supporting the community attending this conference, I hope this talk will mark the beginning of a discussion, which will continue over the next several years.