A scientific software club is born

Bindel

Almost 50 students and faculty members showed up for the first meeting on Sept. 12 of the newly formed Cornell Scientific Software Club.

David Bindel, assistant professor computer science, conceived of the club as a resource for graduate students and researchers across campus to learn about modern tools relevant for developing and deploying scientific codes: “The goal of the club is to give students a venue to discuss and learn about software tools and also provide a social network for further learning.”

While teaching his parallel computing course, Bindel spent instruction time guiding students through basic software skills. “There are a lot of graduate students across campus who are doing computation in their research and need software construction knowledge for what they are doing – for example how to get access to cloud resources,” he said. In addition to using a computer cluster recently donated by Intel to Computing and Information Science, Bindel has connected with Google, Amazon and Microsoft to donate resources to the club.

The club meets Monday nights from 6 to 7 p.m. and has had three well-attended meetings that have included faculty from across the university. “It’s not just a matter of our courses not being the right venue to teach these tools,” said Bindel. “The technology is moving so fast that by the time we develop the courses, the tools have already moved on. This club offers a network of students, faculty, alumni and industry partners who are experimenting with new technology and can share knowledge about the current software landscape."

- Leslie Morris