Software and research: the Institute's Blog

Open Community Metrics and Privacy: MozFest18 Recap

Latest version published on 15 November, 2018.

By Raniere Silva, Software Sustainability Institute, and Georg Link, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Open communities lack a shared language to talk about metrics and share best practices. Metrics are aggregate information that summarise raw data into a single number, stripping away any context of data. Pedagogical metric displays are an idea for metrics that include an explanation and educates the user on how to interpret the metric. Metrics are inherently biased and can lead to discrimination. Many problems brought up during the MozFest session are worked on in the CHAOSS project.

To man page... and beyond!

Latest version published on 9 November, 2018.

By Raniere Silva, Software Sustainability Institute.Documentation is, alongside version control, testing/continuous integration and others, one of the best practices for software development and is crucial for new users. In the recent years, with the professionalism of open source drive by companies such as Red Hat, Anaconda (formerly Continuum Analytics), RStudio, Overleaf, we saw not only releases come out faster but also documentation be richer.

PyConUK 2018: A Fellows' Conference

Latest version published on 9 November, 2018.

By Nikoleta Glynatsi, Cardiff University and Tania Allard, The University of Manchester. The annual PyCon UK took place in Cardiff’s City Hall  from Saturday the 15th till Wednesday the 19th of September 2018. The conference included five days of talks, workshops and collaboration. Fellows of the Software  Sustainability Institute never fail to attend PyCon UK and once again this year the Fellows played a major role at the conference.

Demystifying big data, machine learning and all that

Latest version published on 8 March, 2019.

By Becky Arnold, Software Sustainability Institute fellow. As time progresses data is getting big. This presents many scientific opportunities as well as many technical difficulties. On the 12th of September Rob Baxter of EPCC came to University of Sheffield and gave the talk “Demystifying big data, machine learning and all that” about tactics to handle this shift and advice on how to avoid pitfalls.

Safe Places Through Technological Innovation

Latest version published on 9 November, 2018.

By Reka Solymosi, Software Sustainability Institute Fellow. This October I attended Crime and fear in public places: Patterns, challenges and actions, an event exploring the topic of safety in public places, with a particular focus on technological developments that have evolved this area of policy and research. In this blog post, I summarise some of the interesting things I learned at the event, but also highlight how the development of the tools was not much of a focus of the conference.

Better analyses for social insect genomics

Latest version published on 1 November, 2018.

By Yannick Wurm, Software Sustainability Institute Fellow. I spent the week of August 5th at the 18th Congress of the International Society for the Study of Social Insects in Guarujá, Brazil. This is a big quadrennial conference uniting researchers from around the world who study ants, bees, wasps, termites and a few other animals.

Interoperability and its importance in research software

Latest version published on 26 October, 2018.

By Raniere Silva, Software Sustainability Institute. Following up discussions around culture change and productivity at this year’s Collaborations Workshop (CW18), interoperability is one of Collaborations Workshop 2019 (CW19) themes. The Oxford Dictionary defines interoperability as "the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information." Today, interoperability is a key factor for researchers, not only because it increases efficiency and accuracy, but also because it makes collaborative efforts more fluent.

Vision and Plans for Curriculum Development with The Carpentries

Latest version published on 18 October, 2018.

By François Michonneau, Erin Becker, and Tracy Teal. The Carpentries has seen a growing interest in individuals, research groups, and institutions wanting to develop lessons for their own domain of research. We are very excited by the potential brought by this growth. Diversifying our lesson offerings means we can extend our reach to new communities, and further disseminate our practices of teaching and collaborative lesson development.

Coding Club – peer learning in programming, statistics and data science

Latest version published on 17 October, 2018.

By Gergana Daskalova and Isla Myers-Smith, University of Edinburgh. Coding Club combines online and in-person resources to help teach quantitative skills to people at all career stages working inside and outside academia. Coding Club is focused on trying to overcome "code fear" and "statistics anxiety".

Teaching geographic data skills to mosquito control staff

Latest version published on 16 October, 2018.

By Andy South, Software Sustainability Institute Fellow. Training people to use software is not straightforward. I imagine most of us can remember courses that have gone well and not so well. I’m going to make a couple of suggestions for things to consider when developing software training based upon our recent experience.