The HEP Software Foundation

The HEP Software Foundation (HSF) has been established to facilitate coordination and common efforts in high energy physics (HEP) software and computing internationally.

Current HEP software is the result of 20 years of development, and now must evolve to meet the challenges posed by new experimental programmes. In addition, the computing landscape is evolving rapidly and we need to exploit all the expertise available in our community, and in other scientific disciplines, in order to meet the technical challenges we are facing.

The objectives of the HSF as a community-wide organization are in sharing expertise; raising awareness of existing software and solutions; catalyzing new common projects; promoting commonality and collaboration in new developments to make the most of limited resources; aiding developers and users in creating, discovering, using and sustaining common software; and supporting career development for software and computing specialists.

A recognized community organization can also provide a framework for attracting effort and support, and provide a structure for the community to set priorities and goals for the work. It can also facilitate wider connections; while the HSF is a HEP community effort, it should be open enough to form the basis for collaboration with other sciences.


The initial organization of the HSF was established at the Sep 2014 meeting of the Interim Foundation Board (IFB). At that meeting a startup plan was proposed and accepted, with a startup team constituted to guide the establishment of the HSF. A priority for the organization is to support both focused efforts and broad inclusiveness. We aim to achieve both by engaging the broad community as well as core volunteers. Core efforts can be supplemented and expanded by seeding and encouraging broad involvement such that community engagement amplifies the effort.

Summary timeline and milestones

Startup Team

The current startup team membership is as follows. Active contributors to the HSF are invited to join the startup team as they appear. 

White Paper Analysis and Proposed Startup Plan

The startup team produced a document analyzing the white papers (below) and proposing a startup plan. A version 1.0 draft was released on Nov 11 2014. An updated version 1.1 was released on Jan 7 2015. Both revisions are attached to this page. Please send your comments on the document to the HSF open forum.


See the attached documents below for HSF presentation slides.

White papers

As an initial step towards creating the HSF, in spring 2014 the HEP software and computing community was asked to submit short white papers conveying ideas as to how the HSF should be constituted and how it could be useful. The white papers received are attached to this page.

  • View of the German Community on the proposed “HEP Software Foundation” - submitted by Gunter Quast (pdf)
  • HEP Software Foundation - submitted by Oxana Smirnova (Grid) (pdf)
  • ​HEP Software Foundation - submitted by Jeff Templon (Nikhef) (pdf)
  • Foundation for HEP Software - submitted by Richard Mount (pdf)
  • HEP software collaboration - submitted by Michel Jouvin (IN2P3) (pdf)
  • HEP Software Consortium - submitted by Panagiotis Spentzouris (US) (pdf)
  • HEP Software Foundation - submitted by David Britton (UK GridPP) (pdf)
  • HEP Software Foundation - submitted by Dario Menasce (INFN) (pdf)
  • Experiences of the Geant4 Collaboration - submitted by Makoto Asai (pdf)
  • Openlab thoughts on a HEP Software Foundation - submitted by Andrzej Nowak (pdf)

The original Jan 2014 proposal for a HEP software collaboration by John Harvey et al is here.

Recommended reading

  • Summary of the First Workshop on Sustainable Software for Science: Practice and Experiences (WSSSPE1): (pdf)   Link to workshop series
  • SBGrid article: "By centralizing many of the tasks associated with the upkeep of scientific software, SBGrid allows researchers to spend more of their time on research."
  • Report from the Task Force on Open Source Software Licence at CERN - Main report and Annexes
  • Software Sustainability Institute: "Better Software, Better Research" article from IEEE Internet Computing