Workflow Automation for Cycling Systems

Hilary Oliver, Matthew Shin, David Matthews, Oliver Sanders, Sadie Bartholomew, Andrew Clark, Ben Fitzpatrick, R. van Haren, R. Hut, Niels Drost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
278 Downloads (Pure)


Complex cycling workflows are fundamental to numerical weather prediction (NWP) and related environmental forecasting systems. Large numbers of jobs are executed at regular intervals to process new data and generate new forecasts. Dependence between these forecast cycles creates a single never-ending workflow, but NWP workflow schedulers have traditionally ignored this-at the cost of efficiency when running “off the clock”-by enforcing a simpler nonoverlapping sequence of single-cycle workflows. Cylc (“Silk”)1 -3 is designed to manage infinite cycling workflows efficiently even after delays in real-time operation, or in historical runs, when cycles can typically interleave for much-increased throughput. Cylc is not actually specialized to environmental forecasting, however, and cycling workflows may also be useful in other contexts. In this paper, we describe the origins and major features of Cylc, future plans for the project, and our experience of Open Source development and community engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8675433
Pages (from-to)7-21
Number of pages15
JournalComputing in Science & Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • automation
  • geophysics computing
  • weather forecasting
  • workflow management software


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