Scientific workflow design for mere mortals

Timothy McPhillips, Shawn Bowers, Daniel Zinn, Bertram Ludäscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in research and development of scientific workflow systems. These systems promise to make scientists more productive by automating data-driven and compute-intensive analyses. Despite many early achievements, the long-term success of scientific workflow technology critically depends on making these systems useable by "mere mortals", i.e., scientists who have a very good idea of the analysis methods they wish to assemble, but who are neither software developers nor scripting-language experts. With these users in mind, we identify a set of desiderata for scientific workflow systems crucial for enabling scientists to model and design the workflows they wish to automate themselves. As a first step towards meeting these requirements, we also show how the collection-oriented modeling and design (comad) approach for scientific workflows, implemented within the Kepler system, can help provide these critical, design-oriented capabilities to scientists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-551
Number of pages11
JournalFuture Generation Computer Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Automatic optimization
  • Collection
  • Desiderata
  • Provenance
  • Resilience
  • Workflow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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