The CSIRO Conference on Computational and Data Intensive Science

Introduction to Workspace

Workshop summary

Workspace is a software platform in which you can construct scientific workflows, user interfaces and complete applications quickly and easily. By the end of this workshop participants will have acquired the skills necessary to create their own arbitrary workflows and to execute them. Data visualisation, Database access, Python & JavaScript scripting and Distributed & Parallel execution will be covered on in the tutorial.


The following tutorial activities will be attempted during the workshop:

Workspace Basics

  • Hello Workspace!
  • Reading and displaying data
  • Modifying and writing data
  • Performing calculations
  • Embedding a Python script into a workflow
  • Making choices
  • Looping
  • Converting between data types
  • Batch Execution

Rendering and 3D Visualization

  • Basic 3D Visualization
  • Changing a model’s appearance
  • Glyphing
  • Linear Transforms
  • Off-screen Rendering
  • Visualising volume datasets

SQL Databases

  • Basic SQL Database

Parallel and distributed execution

  • Running nested workflows in parallel on a local machine
  • Running workflows in parallel on a local machine
  • Distributing work to a compute cluster
  • Distributing workload to other (non-cluster) remote machines with the Workspace-Server service
  • Directing the execution of parallel loops to specific machines
  • Parallelising operations that aren’t thread-safe
  • Performing SSH operations in your workflows

Depending on the pace of the workshop and available resources, some of the tutorials may be left as an exercise for the reader.


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.

Users wishing to participate in the 3D visualisation tutorials will need to make sure that their machine has up-to-date graphics drivers as well as an up-to-date graphics card.

Background information/Pre-reading Attachments

Workspace is designed to address two specific user scenarios:

  • Users who want to create and share scientific workflows in one coherent, easy to use environment where much of the “heavy lifting” has already been developed and proven over a number of years
  • Developers who want to make their software and/or algorithms available as reusable components or commercial products that can be freely mixed with capabilities from collaborators

Workspace was developed in CSIRO and:

  • Has advanced visualisation capabilities for two-dimensional (2D) plotting and for three-dimensional (3D) model
  • Has support for parallel and distributed execution
  • Is easy to extend with your own facilities via our plug-in architecture
  • Is designed to facilitate collaboration between groups and individuals

A number of projects within CSIRO already use Workspace in their research and members of the Workspace development team will be on hand to work with individual attendees.

General information on Workspace can be found on our website. You can find installation instructions on our Workspace download page. If you are attending our subsequent workshop, Writing a Workspace Plug-in, then please make sure you address the system and configuration requirements for that workshop too.

Date and time

Thursday 20th July, 2017.


Room: Clarendon F, level 2.
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
1 Convention Place, Melbourne, Victoria

Contact information

Dr Damien Watkins
Research Team Leader
Phone: 61 3 9545 8096
Fax: 61 3 9545 8080
Email: or



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The C3DIS 2017 will bring together researchers with computational and data science specialists from CSIRO, publicly funded research organisations and other invited institutions and organisations. This will enable attendees to share their science outcomes and learnings, and build a community of practice around Computational and Data Intensive science.

Free for CSIRO staff and invited participants