Why Renku?

If you carry out research or analysis with code and data, chances are you will be faced with the following questions:

  • How do I re-run an analysis I did a month ago?
  • How does new data change my results?
  • How can I easily share my analysis with others?
  • How are others applying this algorithm?

The Renku Project provides easy access to tools that make answering these questions possible with minimal setup and expertise. Renku can be used to improve reproducibility, increase productivity through reusability and enable collaboration.

Reproducibility

Renku facilitates reproducibility by keeping a record of each step of the analysis. The sources of all the important elements can be identified even if they span multiple projects or might originate in external public repositories. This cross-linking of research artifacts is made possible through the Renku Knowledge Graph. The analysis steps can be re-executed to ensure the veracity of the results or rerun with different parameters.

The final results can be packaged into a dataset and easily published with all the requisite metadata on public repositories like Zenodo or Dataverse. However, the archived data is only one (static) part of the story; it is the analysis project on the Renku platform that holds the invaluable information about the entire processing chain that led to those published results. Thanks to the versioned runtime environment, all of the calculations can be reproduced and verified by anyone.

Reusability

Once the data is packaged into a dataset in Renku, its use and application can be discovered through the Knowledge Graph search. The collaborators, colleagues or the interested public can then easily reuse this data with the full information of how it needs to be processed and applied. Similarly, the workflows applied to the data can be reused and rerun on the same data with different input parameters to scrutinize the robustness of the conclusions.

Collaboration

Data-driven discovery does not happen in a vacuum. Renku allows researchers and analysts to easily share computational environments for rapid prototyping to more quickly move ideas forward. Projects can be discussed through interactive notebooks, and templates with complex runtimes can be reused to efficiently bootstrap new experiments.

To lean more about the hosted part of the platform, read about Renkulab. To explore the possibilities of the lower-level tools, head to the Renku Client documentation.