Community

The Software Sustainability Institute is organising the “Workshop: Impact of international collaborations in research software”, taking place on Tuesday 24th April 2018, at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

We welcome submissions of posters from researchers based in the UK that demonstrate the impact of computational research / research enabled by software. We’re particularly looking for examples of how collaboration has benefited your work and will give priority to EPSRC researchers, though all research domain areas will be considered. The best examples will also be offered a short presentation slot (5-10 minutes) at the event.

Submissions (of no more than one A4 page) should include a short description of your research and the software used, an example of the impact it has had, and the role that collaboration has played in your work.

Please submit your proposal via this form by 16th March 2018.

Register for the event at http://bit.ly/rseimpact

Further information

Earlier this year, EPSRC awarded the Software Sustainability Institute and EPCC money to fund UK-US RSE collaboration and to run a “Best Use of Archer competition”. As part of the planned activity funded by this grant, this event will showcase the impact of the awards and provide a space to discuss opportunities to build on international collaboration.…

Continue Reading

cw186.pngBy Raniere Silva, Community Officer.

Two activities that form part of  all our Collaborations Workshop are the discussion session and collaborative ideas session. They may not be self-explanatory, but we assure you they are a great opportunity for attendees to interact and exchange ideas.

For Collaborations Workshop first-timers, including our fellows, the discussion session and collaborative ideas session may be completely new. So in this blog we will explain these two sessions and provide some tips on how to make the best of them.

Discussion session

Based on the information that attendees provide during registration, we create a list of topics that they might find interesting to discuss. For example, during CW17 we had "Best practices in Open Data and IoT data; tools & frameworks, analysis patterns and data management", "Improving diversity in research software projects and events", "How to give a kind and balanced software review" and many others. Topics can also be suggested by participants on the day—last year suggestions included "Research, Research IT, and IT: cultural bridging. Or, 'how to stop the IT department slowing down my science'".

At the very beginning of the discussion session, attendees vote for the topic they want to discuss and groups start to form. Once the groups are formed, we assign them…

Continue Reading

14963879736_f7c42086ea_z.jpgBy Mark Woodbridge, Research Software Engineering Team Lead

This is the first in a series of blog posts by the Research Software Engineering team at Imperial College London describing activities funded by their RSE Cloud Computing Award. The team is exploring the use of selected Microsoft Azure services to accelerate the delivery of RSE projects via a cloud-first approach. This post was originally published at the Imperial London College Research Software Engineering team blog. 

A great way to explore an unfamiliar cloud platform is to deploy a familiar tool and compare the process with that used for an on-premise installation. In this case we’ll set up an open source continuous delivery system (Drone) to carry out automated testing of a simple Python project hosted on GitHub. Drone is not as capable or flexible as alternatives like Jenkins (which we’ll consider in a subsequent post) but it’s a lot simpler and a suitable example…

Continue Reading

The culmination of two years’ work by the Pistoia Alliance project team, the UXLS Toolkit provides material on UX education, methods and use cases compiled especially for life scientists. It is pitched at busy UX specialists, in silico analysts and bench scientists in an easily, accessible self-help style who all need better software. UX for Life Sciences Toolkit was created to enable businesses to adopt UX principles and methods as they develop scientific software.

UX is a powerful tool for supporting the creation of effective and usable interfaces. Whilst UX is relatively widespread, the full potential of UX is still to be realised in the life sciences. The goal of this project is to empower life science professionals to get the most from these UX resources. The unique selling point of the UXLS toolkit is its focus on issues faced in developing digital products specifically for R&D in the life science and healthcare environments. More generally, it is a useful resource about the often forgotten area of UX, and the toolkit’s core ideas should be transferable to any research area. This new toolkit might be of particular interest to the RSE community who develop software products for a range of research areas.

Additionally, the Pistoia Alliance UXLS Project Team will be holding its inaugural USA conference at Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, MA, on Tuesday 15th May 2018.

From 29 to 31 May 2018, PRACE will organise the fifth edition of its Scientific and Industrial Conference—PRACEdays18—under the motto "HPC for Innovation: when Science meets Industry" in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

At this occasion, the third PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC will be presented to an outstanding female scientist. Please read the announcement for more information on this award, the nomination process, and the selection criteria.

The deadline to send nominations to submissions-pracedays@prace-ri.eu is Thursday 1 March 2018.

 

groupc.pngBy Stuart Grieve, Research Software Developer, University College London, Eike Mueller, Lecturer in Scientific Computing, University of Bath, Alexander Morley, DPhil in Neuroscience, University of Oxford, Matt Upson, Data Scientist, Government Digital Service, Richard Adams (Chair), Reader, Cranfield University, Michael Clerx, Post-doctoral researcher in Computational Cardiac Electrophysiology, University of Oxford.

This blog post was motivated by a discussion amongst academics and research software engineers from different disciplines on the challenge of writing good, sustainable software in teams with different backgrounds. Specifically, how can a mixed team of, say, scientists, librarians, engineers and project managers be encouraged to write good software together?

Our discussions led us to two broad recommendations: first, to ensure that research software…

Continue Reading

2011.11.15_building_software.pngBy Adam Tomkins (Chair), University of Sheffield, James Grant, University of Bath, Alexander Morley, University of Oxford, Stuart Grieve, University College London, Tania Allard, University of Sheffield.

There is a growing interest in the adoption of software best practices in research computing and allied fields. Best practices improve the quality of research software and efficiency in development and maintenance as well having the potential to deliver benefits outside software development.  However, this interest in these methods is not universal and there is a possibility that a drive for best practice could lead to a widening divide between those who embrace this change and those who do not. It is therefore vital that Research Software Engineers (RSEs) work closely with domain specialists, to bridge this divide and attempt to meet the challenges of efficiency and reproducibility:

  • How do we…

Continue Reading

6375359117_dc18c1a762_z.jpgBy Sam Cox, University of Leicester, Richard Adams, Cranfield University, Eike Müller, Met Office.

The role of software in research and who writes it

From an institutional level down to teams and even individuals, research today is heavily reliant upon software and particularly upon bespoke computer code which solves specific scientific problems.. This creates a huge demand for software creation and maintenance. Traditionally, this has been the responsibility of post-docs and postgraduates. But while they play a crucial role in the success of the research group, the indirect nature of the translation of their work into papers (particularly the maintenance and update work to keep on keep the software fit-for-purpose under changing scientific requirements) can leave the individual researchers at a disadvantage—they have less time for the more traditional work of running experiments and writing papers. This in turn has an effect upon their career progression, which hinges on clear metrics for success.

As a result, one major issue is how to identify what ‘…

Continue Reading

Vitae has been involved in the career and professional development of researchers for many years, gaining reputation as experts in this field. Vitae is currently exploring the feasibility of providing professional recognition for researcher development professionals including associate trainers and other university staff/professionals who have a role in developing researchers.

Researcher Developers at any stage of their career would be eligible to apply for recognition under three different categories: Associate, Fellow or Senior Fellow, and would use elements from the Vitae Career Framework for Researcher Developers (CFRD), established with sector consultation in 2012, to demonstrate the required competencies to achieve recognition.

Join in and help shape the future of Researcher Developer professional recognition by taking part in the survey before 16 February 2018.

More information can be found on Vitae’s website.

3857596_b61f5c8d78_z.jpgBy Sammie Buzzard, University College London; Martin Donnelly, University of Edinburgh.

Introduction or why does this matter?

Whether our involvement in software is in developing it from scratch, building upon existing code, reusing or repurposing someone else’s work, or preserving it (for ten years or until the end of the world, whichever comes first), good software practices benefit us all. This could range from basic version control for an undergraduate’s first coding project to passing well-documented software from one research project to its successor, but the best way to motivate people to improve their practices will be highly dependent on the individual and their circumstances and drivers.

Additionally, appealing to the individual is effective but it doesn’t scale—there are simply too many people involved in research software for a small community of advocates to reach on an individual basis. There are also more wide-ranging actions that could be taken, for example by journals and funding bodies, that could catalyse change within the research software community as a whole. Like any bridge, it is  a good idea to start building from both ends...

So what can we do at an individual level?

In common with most other…

Continue Reading
Subscribe to Community