A research infrastructure for open science

One of the most significant recent developments in software archiving is Software Heritage (SH), the biggest Open Source code archive in the world, which aims to collect, store and share all source codes that have ever been produced. This project of great cultural, social and scientific relevance is promoted by INRIA in cooperation with UNESCO. At ENEA in Bologna the first European institutional “mirror” of the archive will be available, contributing to ensuring its security and accessibility and also making it possible to consolidate and strengthen scientific research in this field.
The existence of the Archive persuaded ENEA-UNIBO-SH to launch a design research project in the field of Big Code also taking advantage of the potential of Software Heritage, a genuine mine of knowledge accumulated over the last 70 years.

Goals

  • Expand and consolidate expertise on “Big Code” and advanced techniques for implementing Big Data archives, exploiting the Software Heritage Archive mirror set up at ENEA’s research centre and the entire Bologna Big Data Technopole ecosystem.
  • Trial tools based on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for the production, testing and reuse of source code in order to make code writing more reliable, sustainable and cheaper.
  • Trial new systems to design, implement and manage huge archives, particularly with multi-cloud systems, using locally available architectures to build an SH-specific Cloud federation.
  • Involve young researchers in a relatively new field of research (Big Code/Big Data) with big development potential and strong strategic value for the regional economic system and qualified employment. Give them the chance to access European IT infrastructure and data archives.
  • Address the problem of “digital heritage”, trialling new approaches to organise, store and index digital material and make it “resilient” to different types of errors/attacks, such as the disastrous loss of copies of data or the obsolescence of storage tools.
  • Involve local companies and organisations (but not only), offering them the opportunity to contribute to the repository and then to use it for internal continuous education and creative innovation processes.
  • Exploit the potential of the SH archive for digital literacy initiatives and to support education at all levels.
  • Promote the Software Heritage mirror at Bologna’s Technopole, creating an environment of high-quality research around it and promoting prestigious collaborations (SH, INRIA, UNESCO), and an environment of connections with the business fabric, involving all the technology transfer organisations and companies.

Expected results

  • Creation of a research team which exploits the professional skills of those involved to consolidate and expand knowledge in the areas of Big Code and Big Data Archive management.
  • Publication of scientific findings.
  • Involvement of companies, also as sponsors and active members of the laboratory, for innovative support and dissemination.
  • Realization of initiatives aimed at involving citizens on digital topics: the first initiative could be planned in cooperation with the Bologna Musei institution during the presentation of the European mirror.

Partners and participants:

  • University of Bologna Department of Computer Science – Science and Engineering (DISI)
  • ENEA National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development Partners of the project
  • Sofware Heritage
  • DI-UNITO

For further information, please contact: [email protected]

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