Example: Math SciencesΒΆ

We describe how to bootstrap a scientific exploration that follows Popper in the mathematical sciences domain. For a generic description of how to follow Popper, see here. A typical exploration in this domain consists of code that implements some numerical computation and, possibly, input datasets used for the experiment. In this case, Popper is followed to manage the changes done to the scripts used to compile, install and run the experiment, as well as analyze its results.


We have several experiments available via the Popper-CLI tool (obtained from the templates repository). Assuming the repo has been initialized (see here for how to), we can show the list of available experiments by doing:

$ cd $HOME/mypaper
$ popper experiment list

In this example we’ll make use of the blis experiment:

$ popper experiment add blis blis-vs-others

$ ls experiments/blis-vs-others
total 16K
-rwxr-x--- 1 ivo ivo  157 Oct  5 10:35 analyze.sh
drwxrwx--- 2 ivo ivo 4.0K Oct  5 10:35 results/
-rwxr-x--- 1 ivo ivo  325 Oct  5 10:35 run.sh

BLIS is a portable software framework for instantiating high-performance BLAS-like dense linear algebra libraries. This experiment corresponds to the one presented in the first BLIS paper. A subsequent report documents how to repeat this experiment. This Popper template corresponds to sections 2.1-2.3 of the replicability report.

To avoid having users configure and recompile the code every time one intends to repeat the experiment, we created a Docker image that has all the binaries for BLIS, OpenBLAS and Atlas precompiled. Modifying and rebuilding the image is also possible (see here for documentation). The run.sh script pulls the Docker image and executes the experiment, generating output to the results/ folder.

The output consists of Matlab files. The results/ folder also contains a set of scripts for generating Figures 13-15 from the original paper. The analyze.sh script launches a Jupyter notebook server (using Docker) that executes this scripts and generates the graphs. To see an example of how the notebook looks see here.

We are currently working with researchers in this domain to include more experiments to our templates repository. If you are interested in contributing one but are not certain on how to start, please feel free to email us, chat or open an issue.