Using Sumatra to Manage Numerical Simulations

Authors: Davison, Andrew, CNRS (principal developer); Wheeler, Daniel, NIST (speaker)

Track: Reproducible Science



Sumatra is a lightweight system for recording the history and provenance data for numerical simulations. It works particularly well for scientists that are in the intermediate stage between developing a code base and using that code base for active research. This is a common scenario and often results in a mode of development that mixes branching for both code development and production simulations. Using Sumatra avoids this unintended use of the versioning system by providing a lightweight design for recording the provenance data independently from the versioning system used for the code development. The lightweight design of Sumatra fits well with existing ad-hoc patterns of simulation management contrasting with more pervasive workflow tools, which can require a wholesale alteration of work patterns. Sumatra uses a straightforward Django-based data model enabling persistent data storage independently from the Sumatra installation. Sumatra provides a command line utility with a rudimentary web interface, but has the potential to become a full web-based simulation management solution. During the talk, the speaker will provide an introduction to Sumatra as well as demonstrate some typical usage patterns and discuss achievable future goals.