By Nikoleta Glynatsi, Software Sustainability Institute fellow
The Collaborations Workshop is an annual workshop organised by the Software Sustainability Institute since 2012. The aim of the event is to bring together research software engineers, researchers and other parties interested in research software.
I became a Sustainable Software Institute Fellow as part of the 2017 cohort and one of my “commitments” as a fellow was attending the Collaborations Workshop 2017 (CW17), which did not feel like a commitment at all. CW17 took place from the 27th to the 29th of March, at the University of Leeds.
The theme of the workshop is different every year. At CW17 the theme was the Internet of Things (IoT) and open data in research. IoT refers to the networking of devices that enable those devices to send and receive data to and from each other. The IoT can be used by researchers to collect raw data and perform analysis for new insights. Open data refers to the concept that data should be freely available for everyone to use, but it's not limited to the raw data from IoT.
The event included two great keynotes; the first one about the IoT, delivered by Usman Haque. This discussed a number of ways that IoT can help engage people and communities. The second talk was about open data, given by Thomas Forth. Also, two panel discussions about IoT and general sustainable practice. Recordings of the talks and the panels have been uploaded on the Institute’s YouTube account.
The event had many sponsors, one of which was Microsoft which resulted in all attendees leaving the event with a SparkFun Thing Azure IoT Starter kit!
All events organised by the Institute aim to ensure that all participants take active part in the activities and are given an opportunity to share their stories and wisdom. In days one & two, all attendants were given an opportunity to give a lightning talk and to participate in speed blogging. During the night of the second day and the last day of the workshop, a traditional hackathon takes place.
In CW17, at total of six teams competed in the hackathon and one of them was led by me. My teammates were Geraint Palmer, Blair Archibald, Martin O’Reilly and Naomi Penfold and we worked on Project Arcas. Arcas is an open source project designed to help academics with collecting academic articles from various APIs. More specifically, the team worked on a potential web based tool, called ‘Where is my field’, which sits atop Arcas and gives an overview of important authors, journals and related keywords of a given topic. More details on the projects and the team members can be found on the Institute’s website.
Though my team did not manage to win, the hackathon was filled with joy, creativity, coding and pizza!
Overall the workshop brought a very fun couple of days, surrounded by great people sharing insights and knowledge. The Institute also arranged several social events and gave us an opportunity to explore the city of Leeds. This year’s Collaborations Workshop, CW18, will be in Cardiff and the theme will be Culture Change, Productivity and Sustainability. I highly recommend everyone to attend!