Try to Start It! The Challenge of Reusing Code in Robotics Research

TitleTry to Start It! The Challenge of Reusing Code in Robotics Research
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsCervera, E
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Pagination 49-56
Date Published01/2019

his letter reviews the source code published with the papers of a flagship robotics research conference, 2017 International Conference on Robotics and Automation. The aim is to investigate whether the code is actually useful, i.e., can be reused by an interested reader without much effort. The interest is twofold: for one side, it makes possible to replicate and validate the results of the research; for another side, it facilitates new progress on the field, since researchers can build new systems on top of existing work. Unfortunately, reusing code is not as straightforward as it could seem, and there is a need for tools that alleviate the effort for integrating someone else's code into the own user's system. We propose the use of Docker, a Linux container technology, to turn the source code repositories into executable images, that can be run and tested locally, in an isolated environment, without the need of a costly integration with the host system.