Software and research: the Institute's Blog

CW1By Diana Suleimenova, PhD student at Brunel University London.

A couple of weeks ago, the Software Sustainability Institute organised a three-day long Collaborations Workshop for anyone and everyone, but mostly researchers, developers and software engineers that are interested in the implications of open data and the Internet of Things. JISC was pleased to sponsor a travel grant for a PhD student and the prizes on the hack day. Below are Diana Suleimanova’s thoughts on her first Collaboration Workshop.

For those who missed the Collaborations Workshop 2017 (CW17) held at the University of Leeds, or those who have an interest in attending it in the future, let me share my first experiences. I was the lucky PhD student to receive a bursary from Jisc to attend the CW17 organised by the Software Sustainability Institute. I heard about the Collaborations Workshop from previous attendees and I was curious to experience it myself.

The workshop revolved around an important topic for researchers in science, namely Internet of Things (IoT) and Open data: implications for research. In my view, the CW17 can be divided into three parts: share research interests, listen to academics and professionals, and the Hackday. Attendees of the CW17 were able to introduce and share a broad range of research interests…

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PyCon Namibia, Cardiff UniversityBy Nikoleta Glynatsi, Cardiff University.

I recently became a Sustainable Software Institute Fellow as part of the 2017 cohort. During the selection day, I presented my plans and ambitions that I have set for my fellowship year. My list of plans included attending and running a workshop at PyCon Namibia 2017. PyCon Namibia 2017 is the third PyCon within the country and the organising committee include Jessica Upani, Gabriel Nhinda, Daniele Procida and Vincent Knight. My main reason for attending was to assist and observe what I believe to be a developing Python and research community with a great future ahead.

As part of Cardiff University I was quickly introduced to the Phoenix Project and its plans for fighting poverty and promoting health by working together with the University of Namibia to educate people to help themselves to ensure sustainable change.  I was quickly…

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TexGen: Modelling textilesBy Louise Brown, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham and EPSRC Research Software Engineer Fellow

This article is part of our series: A day in the software life, in which researchers from all disciplines discuss the tools that make their or someone else’s research possible.

Composite materials are increasingly used in a wide range of applications, particularly in the aerospace and automotive industries. Here their low weight and high strength are a significant advantage, and they will contribute to achieve targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the weight of components and therefore energy used. They comprise a reinforcement embedded in a matrix and may be made up from many combinations of materials, typically glass or carbon fibre in a polymer matrix.  Often the reinforcements are produced in the form of textiles for ease of handling, either layering ‘2D’ weaves to give the required thickness or by creating complex ‘3D’ weaves which can enhance properties and reduce manufacturing time.

Given the many possible combinations of reinforcement textiles and matrix materials, it is beneficial to be able to model these systems so that simulations can be run to predict properties for both manufacturing processes and the final…

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teaching programming outside computer scienceBy Cyril Pernet, University of Edinburgh, Krishna Kumar, University of Cambridge, Laurence Billingham, British Geological Survey.


When: The Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship face-to-face selection day (November 2, 2016) involved several sessions including group discussions. This group discussion was about education and software.

Who: The group was composed of Dr Laurence Billingham, Dr Elena Vataga, Dr Krishna Kumar, Dr Cyril Pernet.

What: The discussion was about teaching programming and best practices at universities: whom we should teach, what should be taught and when…

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Digital History, Humanities, data structuresBy Melodee Beals, Digital Historian at Loughborough University and Software Sustainability Institute fellow

Originally posted at

Historians appear to be quite happy with tables. Tables are neat, orderly repositories of information. Rank and file, we input our names, dates, and other titbits of historical data. Rank and file, we organise our world into an unending supply of lists — lists providing the relevant percentages, absolute enumerations or qualitative descriptions of anything we can imagine. Over the years, of course, our tables have evolved from mere typographical conventions to function-laden spreadsheets, capable of statistical and algebraic functions, textual concatenation, and a host of other minor miracles. Yet, for all the seeming convenience of Microsoft Excel (and its ilk), we pay a hefty price — our time and sanity. “Hyperbole!” I hear you shout. “Nonsense!” I hear you cry. And, when these initial protestations fade, we are left with the ever popular: “I have a system.”

The best laid plans

I’m sure you do; I did. For a very long time, I thought it was an…

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