Software and research: the Institute's Blog

Weather forecastingBy Malcolm Illingworth, Software Consultant, Software Sustainability Institute

The Software Sustainability Institute have been working with the Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Science (ICAS) at the University of Leeds, to help improve the sustainability of their GLOMAP software suite. Kirsty Pringle of ICAS applied for consultancy from the Institute via the Open Call.

One of the biggest challenges in our ability to understand and predict climate change is learning about the role played by tiny particles, such as dust or soot. These aerosol particles are known to influence our climate in complex ways, but how this interaction works is an open area of research.

The Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Science (ICAS) at the University of Leeds  seeks to improve our understanding of how these aerosol particles affect our climate. Their research uses both computer-based climate models and uncertainty analysis to quantify the role that natural aerosols play in climate change. As part of this research, ICAS have developed the GLOMAP model, a flexible…

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DiversityBy Eilis Hannon, Research Fellow in Bioinformatics, in the Complex Disease Epigenetic Group at the University of Exeter.

This post summarises a discussion with Lawrence Hudson, Roberto Murcio, Penny Andrew and Robin Long as part of the Fellow Selection Day 2017.

The question of how to improve diversity is suitably broad and vague to initially induce silence in a group, but eventually, true to its name, it promotes a wide-ranging discussion. Sometimes the task is divided up to target particular under-represented groups, as it starts to become a bit of a minefield to develop a scheme that improves diversity in general. What opens the door to some parts of society can simultaneously close the doors to others. Hackathon events are a common and successful method of attracting young people to computer science; however, if they take place over the weekend and are marketed as providing beer and pizza for sustenance, you start to exclude anyone with caring responsibilities or discourage anyone who doesn’t drink.

Before we can think about trying to improve diversity, it is helpful to consider what exactly do we mean and what are the benefits…

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Jupyter sprintBy Raniere Silva, Community Officer, Software Sustainability Institute

On 16-20th January, the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences hosted the Computational Mathematics with Jupyter workshop organised jointly by the OpenDreamKit and CoDiMa projects where GAP, Singular, SageMath, Jupyter users and developers met for experience sharing talks and coding hackathons.

In a previous blog post, we covered the talks during the Computational Mathematics with Jupyter workshop and in this post we will mention some of the achievements of the workshop attendees during the sprint. If you do a search on Wikipedia, "a sprint is a get-together of people involved in a project to further a focused development of the project", but at this sprint attendees worked on more than one project. Some people are sceptical about the value of sprints, but we hope that the Jupyter sprint helped…

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CW17 at Leeds UniversityBy Shoaib Sufi, Community Lead

Register for CW17—27-29 March 2017, University of Leeds.

The Collaborations Workshop 2017 (CW17) #CollabW17 is set to be the best ever!  It’s set to be quite an event with charismatic and knowledgeable keynotes, generous sponsors, fantastic mini-workshops, and the opportunities to learn, engage and benefit are plenty! The focus of the workshop is the Internet of Things (IoT) and Open Data: implications for research. The schedule will also allow time for other sustainability related topics including reproducible research, training, career path discussions and cloud for research. So there will be something for everyone!

We are proud to announce that our primary sponsor this year is Microsoft, who have very kindly offered free IoT kits and Cloud time to the first 100 to register There will be a talk about the work at Microsoft in this space and an announcement around bidding for free cloud time from Azure. There will also be plenty of time to learn how to setup and use the IoT device at a mini-workshop session, and we encourage (but don’t require) you to use your device in the Hackday competition.

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DifferenceBy Daniel S. Katz, Assistant Director for Scientific Software and Applications at NCSA

Reposted with the author's permission. This article was originally published in Daniel S. Katz's blog

This blog is based on part of a talk I gave in January 2017, and the thinking behind it, in turn, is based on my view of a series of recent talks and blogs, and how they might be fit together. The short summary is that general software reproducibly is hard at best, and may not be practical except in special cases.

Software reproducibility here means the ability for someone to replicate a computational experiment that was done by someone else, using the same software and data, and then to be able to change part of it (the software and/or the data) to better understand the experiment and its bounds.

I’m borrowing from Carole Goble (slide 12), who defines:

  • Repeat: the same lab runs the same experiment with the same set up
  • Replicate: an independent lab runs the same experiment with the same set up
  • Reproduce: an independent lab varies the…
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