Bringing Scientific Software to the Web Browser

live execution log for DISHTINY web app Live execution log for DISHTINY web app.

Although nominally open sourced, much scientific software is inaccessible in practice because it is prohibitively difficult to use — particularly for members of the general public. This software usually requires users to manually download and install the software, manage complicated software dependencies, and have familiarity with command-line interfaces. Browser-based software with an interactive GUI removes those barriers for both the public and for other scientists.

The Empirical project unlocks the benefit potential of in-browser scientific software by providing a C++ interface to implement HTML GUIs that wrap the pre-existing research version of software, making it easier for researchers to keep the most recent version of scientific software available widely.

Where possibles, I package my experiments & software with Empirical and publish them as interactive in-browser apps like DISHTINY. I also serve as a core contributor on the Empirical project, leading development of re-usable “prefabricated” GUI components and maintaining support for the Emscripten Web Worker API in the core library, among other responsibilities.

Publications & Software
2020 dishtiny
header-only C++ library
View on GitHub
Date January 1st, 2020
Venue header-only C++ library

C++ library for digital evolution simulations studying digital multicellularity and fraternal major evolutionary transitions in individuality.

2018 Empirical
header-only C++ library
View on GitHub
Date January 1st, 2018
Venue header-only C++ library

Empirical is a library of tools for developing useful, efficient, reliable, and available scientific software. The provided code is header-only and encapsulated into the emp namespace, so it is simple to incorporate into existing projects.

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  author = {Ofria, Charles and Moreno, Matthew Andres and Dolson, Emily and Lalejini, Alex and Rodriguez Papa, Santiago and Fenton, Jake and Perry, Katherine and Jorgensen, Steven and hoffmanriley and grenewode and Baldwin Edwards, Oliver and Stredwick, Jason and cgnitash and theycallmeHeem and Vostinar, Anya and Moreno, Ryan and Schossau, Jory and Zaman, Luis and djrain},
  doi = {10.5281/zenodo.4141943},
  license = {MIT},
  month = {10},
  title = {{Empirical: C++ library for efficient, reliable, and accessible scientific software}},
  url = {},
  version = {0.0.4},
  year = {2020}
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Ofria, C., Moreno, M. A., Dolson, E., Lalejini, A., Rodriguez Papa, S., Fenton, J., Perry, K., Jorgensen, S., , H., , G., Baldwin Edwards, O., Stredwick, J., , C., , T., Vostinar, A., Moreno, R., Schossau, J., Zaman, L., & , D. (2020). Empirical: C++ library for efficient, reliable, and accessible scientific software (Version 0.0.4) [Computer software].

Supporting Materials