Testing in Scientific / Engineering Applications

Claus | Sunday 14:30 | Room J

Workshop GitHub Repo


Please make sure you have the repo cloned and the environment specified in env.yml set up prior to the workshop.

If you use conda, you can do

conda env create --file env.yml (source) activate scipytesting



Primary Goal:

How can I integrate testing in my interactive development process?


How can I do this or that kind of test or how does this particular feature of *test work?

Motivation & Content

Software testing is an undisputed corner stone of software development. However, as I know from my personal experience, Python users with a non-software-engineering or otherwise scientific background are often not so familiar with the concept of testing.

Computational problems are regularly approached by means of interactive development, which is both fast and fun and one of the reasons why Python is so successful in a wide range of scientific/engineering areas. The widespread adoption of the IPython and Jupyter project are living proof of that.

When carrying out computations, “testing” is implicitly carried out by “looking at the result” - which, on a small range, works pretty well. Yet, this is not what is meant automatic tests.

Writing tests beforehand, as suggested by Test Driven Development (TDD), is sometimes considered clumsy and an approach that does not align very well with the experimental nature of interactive development. Yet, without tests one may quickly get lost in the complexity of even rather small problems.

In this workshop I want to share my personal experience with testing in scientific/engineering applications and how testing works for me using tools like engarde, doctest, pytest and hypothesis.

The workshop focuses on the question "How can I integrate testing in my interactive development process?".

After a general introduction, each of the above libraries will be employed to solve some small exercises to prepare the ground for a slightly more complex computational problem which is then approached in an interactive- and test-writing-manner.

Target audience

Engineers/Scientists/People doing interactive development that feel they should write tests but either do not know how to do so or think tests stand in their way of writing awesome code.


This talk is not aimed at professional testers nor is it a (in any way) comprehensive introduction to testing.