Developing a Testing and Continuous Integration Strategy for your Team

a tutorial presented at

Exascale Computing Project Annual Meeting

on 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm EDT (UTC-4) Monday 02 May 2022

Presenters: Gregory R. Watson (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) and David M. Rogers (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

This page provides detailed information specific to the tutorial event above. Expect updates to this page up to, and perhaps shortly after, the date of the tutorial. Pages for other tutorial events can be accessed from the main page of this site.

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A thorough and robust testing regime is central to the productive development, evolution, and maintenance of quality, trustworthy scientific software. Continuous integration, though much discussed, is just one element of such a testing regime. Most project teams feel that they could (and should) do a “better job” of testing. In many cases, designing and implementing a strong testing strategy can seem so daunting that it is hard to know where to start.

In this tutorial, which is aimed at those with beginner to intermediate levels of comfort with testing and continuous integration, we will briefly review the multiple motivations for testing, and the different types of tests that address them. We’ll discuss some strategies for testing complex software systems, and how continuous integration testing fits into the larger picture. Accompanying hands-on activities, available for self-study, will demonstrate how to get started with a very simple level of CI testing.


Time (EDT)ModuleTitlePresenter
2:30 PM0Introduction and SetupGregory R. Watson (ORNL)
2:35 PM1Motivation and OverviewGregory R. Watson (ORNL)
2:40 PM2Software Testing IntroductionGregory R. Watson (ORNL)
3:00 PM3Testing Complex SoftwareDavid M. Rogers (ORNL)
3:25 PM4Continuous IntegrationDavid M. Rogers (ORNL)
3:55 PM5SummaryDavid M. Rogers (ORNL)
4:00 PMAdjourn

Presentation Slides

The latest version of the slides will always be available at

Note that these files may include additional slides that will not be discussed during the tutorial, but questions are welcome.

How to Participate

Hands-On Exercises


The hands-on exercises for this tutorial are based around a simple numerical model using the one-dimensional heat equation. The example is described briefly in the repository’s README file, and in greater detail in the ATPESC Hands-On lesson. The ATPESC version focuses on the numerical aspects of the model.

But for this tutorial, we’re focused on how to make the software better from a quality perspective, so you don’t need to understand the math to do these exercises.

For the purposes of these hands-on exercises, you should imagine you’ve inherited an early version of the hello-numerical-world software from a colleague who’s left the project, and you’ve been assigned to get it into better shape so that it can be used in the next ATPESC summer school.

The repository you’ll be working with is: bssw-tutorial/hello-numerical-world-2022-05-02-ecpam.

Note: most of the screenshots will refer to the generic “hello-numerical-world” repository rather than the one specifically for this event.

List of Hands-On Exercises

Note that not every presentation module has exercises (yet).

There are also activities associated with a couple of modules that we didn’t have time to cover in this tutorial. You are welcome to try them out too.

Stay in Touch

If you’re interested in this tutorial, you might be interested in these related events taking place at this week’s ECP Annual Meeting or next week’s ECP Community BoF Days.

ECP Annual Meeting

The following links will be accessible only to those who have registered for the ECP Annual Meeting

Day(s) Time (EDT) Event
Mon-Fri 12:30pm-1:30pm IDEAS Desk – informal conversations about developer productivity and software sustainability
Room 125 in the Gather.Town Side Meetings area
Tue 1:00pm-3:00pm Broader Engagement Initiative
Tue 4:00-6:00pm AD, Hardware and Integration, and Facilities Poster Session
Posters on the IDEAS project, resource site, and BSSw Fellowship
Wed 1:00pm-2:00pm Best Practices #somycodewillseethefuture Breakout
Wed 1:00pm-3:00pm Panel on Sustainability of ECP Software and Applications
Thu 1:00pm-3:00pm What Can be Learned from Applying Team of Teams Principles to the ECP Projects PETSc, Trilinos, xSDK, and E4S?

ECP Community BoF Days

The ECP Community BoF Days are open to the public. Registration is required.

Day Time (EDT) Event
Wed 11 May 3:00-4:30pm Fostering Software Sustainability, Productivity and Quality through

Resources from Presentations

Links from the tutorial presentations are listed here for convenience

Requested Citation

The requested citation the overall tutorial is:

Gregory R. Watson and David M. Rogers, Developing a Testing and Continuous Integration Strategy for your Team tutorial, in Exascale Computing Project Annual Meeting, online, 2022. DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.19608927.

Individual modules may be cited as Speaker, Module Title, in Developing a Testing and Continuous Integration Strategy for your Team tutorial…


This tutorial is produced by the IDEAS Productivity project.

This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), and by the Exascale Computing Project (17-SC-20-SC), a collaborative effort of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration.