Common Workflow Language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Common Workflow Language
The Common Workflow Language standards
CWL Logo
Year started10 July 2014 (2014-07-10)
Latest version1.0
8 July 2016 (2016-07-08)
Related standardsBioCompute Object
LicenseApache 2.0

The Common Workflow Language (CWL) is a specification [1] for describing computational data-analysis workflows. Development of CWL is focussed particularly on serving the data-intensive sciences, such as Bioinformatics,[2] Medical Imaging, Astronomy, Physics, and Chemistry. A key goal of the CWL is to allow the creation of a workflow that is portable and thus may be run reproducibly in different computational environments.

The CWL originated from discussions in 2014 between Peter Amstutz, John Chilton, Nebojsa Tijanic, and Michael R. Crusoe (of Galaxy, Arvados, and Seven Bridges) at the Open Bioinformatics Foundation BOSC 2014 codefest.

CWL is supported by multiple analysis environments such as Apache Airflow (via CWL-Airflow ), Arvados, Rabix, and Toil,[3] and was identified in 2017 as one of the future trends for bioinformatics pipeline development.[2] Several additional analysis environments are currently implementing support for CWL: Apache Taverna, Cromwell workflow engine, Galaxy, and REANA - Reusable Analyses.[3]


CWL is developed by an informal, multi-vendor working group consisting of both organizations and individuals and is freely available via its GitHub repository under a permissive Apache License 2.0.


  1. ^ Peter, Amstutz,; R., Crusoe, Michael; Nebojša, Tijanić,; Brad, Chapman,; John, Chilton,; Michael, Heuer,; Andrey, Kartashov,; Dan, Leehr,; Hervé, Ménager, (2016-07-08). "Common Workflow Language, v1.0". figshare. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.3115156.v2.
  2. ^ a b Leipzig, Jeremy (2017-05-01). "A review of bioinformatic pipeline frameworks". Briefings in Bioinformatics. 18 (3): 530–536. doi:10.1093/bib/bbw020. ISSN 1467-5463.
  3. ^ a b

External links[edit]