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Proposing a representation model of computational simulations’ execution context for reproducibility purposes

Abstract : Computational reproducibility is an unavoidable concept in the 21st century. Computer hardware evolutions have driven a growing interest into the concept of reproducibility within the scientificcommunity. Simulation experts press that this concept is strongly correlated to the one ofverification, confirmation and validation either may it be for research results credibility or for theestablishment of new knowledge. Reproducibility is a very large domain. Within the area ofnumerical and computational Science, we aim to ensure the verification of research dataprovenance and integrity. Furthermore, we show interest on the precise identification ofoperating systems parameters, compilation options and simulation models parameterizationwith the goal of obtaining reliable and reproducible results on modern computer architectures.To be able to consistently reproduce a software, some basic information must be collected.Among those we can cite the operating system, virtualization environment, the softwarepackages used with their versions, the hardware used (CPU, GPU, many core architectures suchas the former Intel Xeon Phi, Memory, …), the level of parallelism and eventually the threadsidentifiers, the status of pseudo-random number generators, etc. In the context of scientificcomputing, even obvious, it is currently not possible to consistently gather all this informationdue to the lack of a common model and standard to define what we call here execution context.A scientific software that runs in a computer or a computing node, either as a cluster node, a gridcluster or a supercomputer possesses a unique state and execution context. Gatheringinformation about the latter must be complete enough that it can be hypothetically used toreconstruct an execution context that will at best be identical to the original. This of course whileconsidering the execution environment and the execution mode of the software. Our effortduring this journey can be summarized as seeking an optimal way to both ease genuine access toreproducibility methods to scientists and aim to deliver a method that will provide a strictscientific numerical reproducibility. Moreover, our journey can be laid out around three aspects.The first aspect involves spontaneous efforts in collaborating either to bring awareness or toimplement approaches to better reproducibility of research projects. The second aspect focusesin delivering a unifying execution context model and a mechanism to federate existingreproducibility tools behind a web platform for World Wide access. Furthermore, we investigateapplying the outcome of the second aspect to research projects. Finally, the third aspect focusesin completing the previous one with an approach that guarantees an exact numerical reproducibility of research results.
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Faïçal Yannick Palingwendé Congo. Proposing a representation model of computational simulations’ execution context for reproducibility purposes. Other [cs.OH]. Université Clermont Auvergne, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018CLFAC093⟩. ⟨tel-02363764⟩

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