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2nd International Workshop on FAIR Containerized Computational Software

2nd International Workshop on FAIR Containerized Computational Software (Dec 5-7, 2023)

With the increasing size of collected data, distributed computational environments provide an acceleration option for completing data analyses over very large data collections and for federated learning over many data collections. To run heterogeneous analysis tools written in multiple programming languages and with many dependencies on other software libraries, containerization of tools offers a valuable solution for software execution in distributed computational environments with heterogeneous hardware and software configuration at each computational node. To facilitate reuse of tools and creations of increasingly complex computational analyses (workflows), containerized software tools must be interoperable as they are chained into workflows. This topic led to the 1st workshop on Interoperability of Web Computational Plugins for Large Microscopy Image Analyses. The workshop report can be found at

The main goal for the workshop is to establish a community consensus on creating interoperable containerized computational tools that can be chained into scientific workflows/pipelines and executed over large image collections regardless of the cloud infrastructure components.  

The discussion is intended as a follow-up on the 1st workshop on Interoperability of Web Computational Plugins for Large Microscopy Image Analyses and Request For Feedback/Comments on the preliminary manifest file specification posted at in the Federal Register (and in the specification GitHub repository).

The purpose of the workshop is:

  1. establish fields in a manifest file accompanying each containerized software tool so that the tools can be chained into workflows and executed in distributed computational environments,
  2. summarize best practices for containerization of algorithms and interfaces between containerized algorithms and datasets in heterogeneous storage environments,
  3. explore application programming interfaces (APIs) for finding containerized software tools and container-based workflows in registries, and
  4. support executions of container-based workflows in a variety of workflow engines.

Suggested attendees: Experts from academia, industry, and government who have been working with software containers, heterogeneous bioimage file formats and storage mechanisms, scientific workflows (representations and engines), distributed computational and storage environments, and application programming interfaces to registries of container-based workflows and individual containerized tools. The workshop will provide a comprehensive forum on the topics of software containerization, execution on advanced hardware, container-based workflow management, big image data management, web technologies for dynamic content creation, and web plugins for image annotation creation.

Topics that will be covered in the workshop: 

  1. Defining Manifests for Describing Containers
  2. Building Containerized Software
  3. Finding Containerized Tools and Computational Workflows
  4. Running Containerized Software Tools

Workshop Report

Report from the 2nd International Workshop on FAIR Containerized Computational Software (NIST Interagency Report NIST IR 8520)


Slide Decks

Day One
Plugin Manifest
Needs for Diverse Translational Biomedical Interoperable Computational Tools
Hardware-Enabled Security for Container Platforms
Day Two
Microscopy Image Stitching Tool
User Interfaces at NCATS
Registry Considerations for Manifest Files
Day Three
Hardware Heterogeneity at NCATS
Hardware Heterogeneity at NIST
Current Hardware Specifications and the Needs at NIST


Everyday Meeting Times: East Coast (11am-3pm), West Coast (8am-noon), UK (4pm-8pm), and Germany (5pm-9pm), Asia (Korea/Japan 1am-5am)

Top level program outline (Each day):

  • Session 1: General session consisting of opening remarks and background introduction (one hour)
  • Session 2: Three to five breakout sessions consisting of about 15-30 people discussing specified topics (two hours)
  • Session 3: General session consisting of summaries from breakout sessions and closing remarks (one hour)

Themes for each day:

  • Day 1: Inputs/Outputs and Security for FAIR containerized computational software
  • Day 2: Graphical User Interfaces for FAIR containerized computational software
  • Day 3: Hardware Requirements for FAIR containerized computational software
Created June 7, 2023, Updated May 1, 2024