First URSSI Workshop, Berkeley, CA (April 10-12, 2018)

First Software Sustainability Institute Workshop in Berkeley, CA (April 10-12)

In this workshop, we want to:

  • Introduce URSSI
  • Help attendees meet each other and understand their goals
  • Pilot some initial survey questions, and gather inputs about where our survey should be distributed
  • Talk about the idea of ethnographic studies, and gather ideas on specific people and projects to study
  • Present a set of topics that we think will be potential areas of work in a future institute
  • Identify a subset of these, plus additional topics that are potentially important to the community, to discuss further
  • Refine, merge, discard topics
  • Find who among the attendees might lead discussion on them
  • Document the workshop’s results

We want to come out of this workshop with:

  • An informed and enthused set of attendees (including a group photo)
  • An improved survey, and a set of survey distribution mechanism
  • Potential ethnographic study subjects
  • An initial list of candidate topics for an institute, some of which may be well-understood
  • A set of topics that should be further discussed in smaller follow-on workshops
  • Initial thoughts on institute roles - what could an institute do to address the topics?
  • Initial thoughts on institute organization - how could an institute be organized to do this?

Very Preliminary Agenda

The workshop will be 2 ½ days, starting the morning of day 1 (April 10), and ending at lunch on day 3 (April 12), with an additional ½ day for PIs to document and start planning the next activities. We will start with a talk from NSF about institutes, talks about successful conceptualization project that led to institutes (SGCI and MolSSI) and a talk a from a recent conceptualization project in high-energy physics. The remainder of the workshop will include a mix of plenary (including lightning talks selected from the attendees), general topic breakouts (with similar questions asked of all attendees arranged in small groups), and unconference breakouts (with focused discussion around topics in self-selected groups)

Open questions

Tell us what you think. What have we missed? What else do you think we should do during the workshop to best achieve the goals? What do you not understand? What do you want to learn and/or take away from the workshop?

Related Material

If you would like to write a short position paper for this workshop and this overall project, please feel free to do so, and to self-publish it (via, figshare, zenodo, OSF, etc.), then send us ( a link to your paper, and we will post it on our website (

We will also be collecting links to related projects, papers, and reports on our website ( Please feel free to send us ( any links that you think we should list, if possible, along with a few words about how each is related.