Stéfan van der Walt: The Nature of Open Source Software

Guest Lecture

Open source software has emerged as a valid—and often desirable—platform for computational sciences. Still, its use and development within an academic environment pose certain challenges. In this talk, I explore, from the perspective of a researcher and developer, barriers to the adoption of open source software as well as the risks, rewards, and incentives involved. Examples are drawn from selected projects, including the identification of Great White sharks, the segmentation of 150,000 insect trays, and structural analysis of the human brain.


Stéfan van der Walt

Senior Lecturer, Applied Mathematics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Associate Project Scientist, Astronomy Department, UC Berkeley

Stéfan van der Walt is a senior lecturer in applied mathematics at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and an associate project scientist in the astronomy department, UC Berkeley. He has been involved in the development of scientific open source software since 2003 and enjoys teaching Python at workshops and conferences. Stéfan is the founder of scikit-image (an image-processing library written in the Python language) and a contributor to NumPy, SciPy and Dipy.