The Journey to STRUDEL: How We Came to Embrace User Experience in Scientific Ecosystems

Series: HPC Best Practices Webinars

Scientific discoveries increasingly depend on leveraging computation and data synergistically at scale. Scientific workflows and software have become a cornerstone to enable seamless, interactive, searchable, collaborative, and reproducible science. However, delivering usable and maintainable software is often still challenging. This talk will detail our journey in using user experience research over the last decade to develop software products and inform our research approaches. User experience research has enabled us to focus on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations to build next-generation scientific software ecosystems. Finally, the talk will describe how our experiences have led us to STRUDEL, an open-source science project building resources to enable teams to plan, design, and build user-centered software for their scientific communities.


Presenter Bio

Dr. Lavanya Ramakrishnan is a Senior Scientist and Division Deputy in the Scientific Data Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and Deputy Project Director for the High Performance Data Facility (HPDF). Her research interests are in building software tools for computational and data-intensive science with a focus on workflow, resource, and data management. More recently, her work explores the methods and infrastructure needed to support automation and self-driving labs. In addition, Ramakrishnan established and leads a scientific user research program focusing on studying and enumerating the way that scientists and communities use data and workflows to build usable tools for science. She currently leads several project teams that consist of a mix of social scientists, software engineers, and computer scientists.

Ramakrishnan serves on the High Performance Distributed Computing Steering Committee, iHARP NSF HDR Institute’s Advisory board and has previously served as the Associate Editor for the Journal of Parallel and Distributed Computing and as program committee chair for various conferences. She has master’s and doctoral degrees in computer science from Indiana University and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from VJTI, University of Mumbai. She joined Berkeley Lab as an Alvarez Fellow. Previously she has worked as a research software engineer at Renaissance Computing Institute and MCNC in North Carolina