Subtitle, too busy to blog. Just about finished my time here at SciPy and I am both tired and energized. My excitement has not diminished from my first SciPy back in 2012. Great to meet new people and re-meet people that, due to reasons, many of them pandemic related, I have lost contact with.
My number one take away from SciPy is: How much better organized the community is and how they, more so than any government program I have worked with, pull in the same direction and work in concert across many projects. The impact of organizations like Chan Zuckerberg is clear as is the orchestrating role of NumFocus. Also a thing to watch is the new Scientific Python organization which is aimed at sustainable growth and enhancement of the ecosystem.
The increasing common language of enhancement projects (PEPs, SPECs, ZEPs etc…) and common governance structures is extremely pleasing and what just blows my mind is how this is completely self organized without any kind of edict from above.
The Scientific Python ecosystem is just that, an evolving ecosystem! It is so pleasing watching it evolve to a sustainable track. As Ben Blaiszik said during his keynote, this software is fundamental science infrastructure and while it needs (very much) more financial support from the agencies who’s science it supports (side eye at DOE) it is now in a place where any funds it (the ecosystem) receives will be used for the good of science.
On a technical note some great things I took home were: New, exciting 3D visualization tools, Pangeo forge forges ahead, cool ways to access HRRR as a X-Array like Zarr store from AWS, James Webb space telescope processing runs on SciPy, new ways to manage conda environments for teams and more.
On a professional note, my greatest enjoyment was from seeing the enjoyment of my team three of whom were at their first in-person SciPy. Joe, Max and Bhupendra seemed to completely immerse themselves in the meeting and made new connections. It was also fantastic seeing our ARM collaborators at Brookhaven Lab , Die Wang and Sid Gupta there. This turned into a mini-science meeting as well with new connections made and new work planned. It also is a sign that open science is growing in the programs I love.
On a personal note, it was fun and a little interesting being in Austin during the pandemic. The city’s homeless problem has gotten worse and many businesses are struggling with hiring and some old haunts have gone out of business. I really enjoyed taking advantage of the scooter scheme clocking up 25 miles of low carbon transport.
The news today of NumFocus taking over from Enthought as the organizing entity for SciPy is great news. Enthought has been spectacular and so supportive but having a genuine not for profit will help in many ways. It also opens the opportunity for SciPy not being in Austin. I am genuinely on the fence about this. Whatever the case I hope NumFocus takes a good look at WHY we have these meetings and comes up with some guiding principles. Define what is trying to be achieved, a north star to guide decisions. Then they and the chairs, committee, etc, can keep coming back to those and be forced to justify decisions. I am excited for the future, be it in Austin or elsewhere (note the contract for Austin in 2023 is signed, this does not mean it has to be in Austin but means there is a cost to not having it in Austin).
I’ll finish this blog post by asserting I need to become more engaged in the community. I need to write in folks like NumFocus, Quantsight, 2i2c et al into grant proposals as collaborators as not only are they better positioned to implement workflows I love to use funding them will give back to the tools I love to use. I also need to make more time to contribute code and continue to support my team in contributing to free open community software, critical international science infrastructure.