Workspace user and developer workshop: Using Workspace to build scientific workflows, plugins and applications.

Mr Lachlan Hetherton1, Mr David Thomas1

1CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia


This workshop will provide you with the knowledge and experience you need to start building complex Workspace workflows and create your own Workspace operations, plugins and applications.

Part 1 will be a hands-on introduction to Workspace. By the end of the session, participants will have acquired the skills necessary to create their own arbitrary workflows, execute them and visualise the results. Advanced data visualisation and parallel/distributed execution will be touched on in the tutorial.

Part 2 of the workshop is targeted at software developers or scientists who would like to learn how to make their own algorithms available within Workspace. Participants will be shown how to create a simple Workspace plugin, add operations and how to create simple user interfaces to attach to their workflows. Participants are welcome to bring their own algorithms/code and integrate them into their plugin.

Please note: the workshop will be run in a very interactive, hands-on manner with each participant expected to bring along their own laptop so they can follow along with the class. The latest Workspace release needs to be installed on the laptop prior to the workshop; you can install it from here (


Lachlan Hetherton is a senior software engineer in the Computational Modelling group in Data61, and is one of the lead developers of the Workspace scientific workflow framework. Specifically, he is responsible for Workspace’s 3D scene rendering and 2D visualisation capabilities, as well as a number of extension plug-ins and applications, such as the NetCDF and Geospatial plug-ins.

Lachlan also spends a significant amount of time assisting customers and research groups to design and deliver their own specialist capabilities using the Workspace platform. In a recent example of this, Lachlan has lead the software engineering effort behind the bushfire modelling and simulation toolkit Spark. Prior to joining CSIRO in 2009, Lachlan worked as a technical consultant for Accenture, designing and developing solutions for a diverse range of projects in the telecommunications space.

David Thomas has a First Class Honours Degree in Mathematics and a research MSc in Mathematics and Chemical Engineering, both from the University of Manchester in the UK. He is a software developer and consultant with over 20 years of commercial experience, the majority of which was spent working on the core functionality underpinning most of the largest names in CAD, such as AutoCAD, SolidWorks, NX, and CATIA. He has been with CSIRO / Data61 since August 2010.

He has worked on a number of Workspace-based user-end products that have successfully commercialised in-house intellectual property.


AeRO is the industry association focused on eResearch in Australasia. We play a critical coordination role for our members, who are actively transforming research via Information Technology. Organisations join AeRO to advance their own capabilities and services, to collaborate and to network with peers. AeRO believes researchers and the sector significantly benefit from greater communication, coordination and sharing among the increasingly different and evolving service providers.

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