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Challenge to Scientists: Does Your Ten-Year-Old Code Still Run?

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Apple II, 1977

Nicolas Rougier ran 32-year-old code with AppleSoft BASIC instructions on a web-based Apple II emulator.

Credit: The Interface Experience

The Ten Years Reproducibility Challenge asked scientists to find and re-execute old code written for computationally driven papers published ten or more years ago. Participants were supposed to discuss what they learned at a workshop in Bordeaux in June. The event has been tentatively rescheduled for June 2021.

Founded by Nicolas Rougier, a computational neuroscientist and programmer at INRIA, and Konrad Hinsen, a theoretical biophysicist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, the Ten Years Reproducibility Challenge aims "to find out which of the ten-year-old techniques for writing and publishing code are good enough to make it work a decade later," Hinsen says.

"Ten years is a very, very, very, very long time in the software world," says Victoria Stodden, who studies computational reproducibility at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In establishing that benchmark, she says, the challenge effectively encourages researchers to probe the limitations of code reproducibility over a period that "is roughly equivalent in the software world to infinity."

From Nature
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