Investing in Code Reviews for Better Research Software

The IDEAS Productivity project, in partnership with the DOE Computing Facilities of the ALCF, OLCF, and NERSC, and the DOE Exascale Computing Project (ECP), organizes the webinar series on Best Practices for HPC Software Developers.

As part of this series, we offer one-hour webinars on topics in scientific software development and high-performance computing, approximately once a month. The October webinar is titled Investing in Code Reviews for Better Research Software; and will be presented by Thibault Lestang (Imperial College London), Dominik Krzemiński (University of Cambridge), and Valerio Maggio (Software Sustainability Institute). The webinar will take place on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 at 1:00 pm ET.


Code review is a development practice that improves readability and maintainability of software projects, in addition to making collaboration easier and teamwork more effective. Typically, code review is a conversation between reviewer(s) and the author(s) of the code under review. The code is dissected and analyzed in order to find areas of improvement according to the focus of the review. Examples include, but are not limited to, readability, security or performance improvements. Despite code review being an effective tool for improving software quality, it is still not a standard practice within the scientific software development process. The webinar will detail the benefits that code review can bring to scientific software developers, particularly improvements in software quality, improved teamwork and knowledge transfer. The presenters will highlight common difficulties faced by researchers to set up, perform and maintain frequent code reviews, and they will discuss several approaches and good practices to mitigate these difficulties. The presenters will also describe common tools that make code reviews easier and give examples of how to use them effectively, while explaining a typical code development cycle with continuous integration and automatic code checks.