October 5-9, 2014


O2.1 How should astronomy pay for software?

Frossie Economou (LSST)

Software engineering is more embedded in the astronomical data flow than ever before. In the last few decades we have seen a transition from institution-backed software funding (eg. IRAF, Starlink) to grant-backed funding at University research groups. Is this polycosm resulting in a Darwinian triumph of fitter ideas, or is it a constant re-invention of the wheel that is stopping us from making cumulative progress as a field? Is there a benefit to retaining long-term software engineering talent, and if so, can this be done on the grant system? Is it a good idea to have our software written by postdocs? By contractors? How do we compete in the free market for tech talent? Are open-source inspired initiatives (eg. AstroPy) a solution? How does the funding model for astronomy software impact the code produced, and can anybody be made to care?

Mode of presentation: Invited Speaker (need to be confirmed by the SOC)

Applicable ADASS XXIV theme category: Other