Software and research: the Institute's Blog

Three tips on software sustainability from the EGI User Forum

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

This week, I'm at the EGI (European Grid Infrastructure) User Forum in Vilnius (if you want to know more about the EGI, see my earlier post).

Before the first plenary was over, the term sustainability had featured at least a dozen times. This is heartening news for the Software Sustainability Institute! I was particularly interested in Alberto Di Meglio’s plenary talk about ‘open-source middleware and the road to sustainability’ (middleware is the software that ties together different computer resources). Alberto is the leader of the European Middleware…

Grid computing explained at the European Grid Infrastructure User Forum

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

The European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) provides European researchers with access to computing resources. And not just any computing resources – we’re talking big resources, the kind needed by scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider. There’s some interesting overlap between the EGI's work and the Software Sustainability Institute, especially when it comes to supporting research, so this week I’m at the EGI User Forum to find out more.

If you’re interested in the grid, the EGI has some very good resources to describe their work. They’ve created a guide to the grid, which…

Is all publicity, good publicity?

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

As a philosophy, no publicity is bad publicity seems to work pretty well for celebrities. The kind of transgressions that would end most people’s careers only seem to bolster a celebrity's stock. But before you attempt to raise your project’s status by being caught in flagrante delicto, it’s good to remember how far we can push things in the real world – a subject that came up recently here at the Software Sustainability Institute.

As a new project, we want our name to be known in the outside world. Exposure costs money, and that’s something that academic…

Ask Steve! - The Bug is back

Latest version published on 30 September, 2016.

As is traditional at 12.00, we have to come clean and say that the following post was published for April Fool’s day. Sorry…

There is a worrying correlation between the number of IT projects in the world, and the number of IT project overruns. In fact, a Whitehall report shows that  UK public IT projects were, in total, 86 years overdue and £2bn over budget! That’s bad news for the exchequer, but it seems like there’s worse to come. It turns out…

Applications in a distributed world

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

William Vassilis Karageorgos is a research assistant at the IASA inter-university research institute. While pursuing a doctoral degree on High Energy Physics, William has been working on the Applications Database - a service provided by the European Grid Initiative (EGI). This service could help to prevent software decay, so we asked William to give us an overview.

For those of you who are not familiar with it, the Applications Database (or AppDB, as we call it for short) is a service that stores information about tailor-made computing tools, and the…

Ask Steve! - To C or Not to C: which Programming Language Should I Use? Part III

Latest version published on 30 September, 2016.

Which programming language to use?  A common question, and one asked by our intrepid researcher living in a world of Fortran programmers.  So far we’ve covered concerns about community and data format when selecting a language… but what about support for developing in the language itself?

How you develop your code is often as important as what you are developing, particularly if…

A view from the Collaborations Workshop - Rob Allan

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

The DevCSI project sponsored a number of key developers to attend the Collaborations Workshop. We hear from one of these developers, Rob Allan (pictured right), who talks about his experience of the workshop.

I had known about the work of the Software Sustainability Institute for some time. I found out about the Collaborations Workshop from Neil Chue-Hong and Tim Parkinson who are involved in JISC-funded National e-Infrastructure for Social Simulation (NeISS) project, which I work on. I wanted to tell people about how we are using Sakai in NeISS to build Web interfaces for…

A view from the Collaborations Workshop - Hugh Glaser

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

The DevCSI project sponsored a number of key developers to attend the Collaborations Workshop. We hear from one of these developers, Hugh Glaser (pictured right), who talks about his experience of the workshop.

Never having been to a Collaborations Workshop, I was not very sure what to expect – but Mahendra (from the DevCSI project) seemed to think I might be of some use, so I toddled along. Arriving at the registration and coffee, it was clear that this would be pretty interactive, and although as far as I could tell most people had more history between them than I, I knew a…

Open Source Community, Simplified

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

Steve Bennett, a Research Data Analyst from the Australian National Data Service, who I met when giving a talk on software sustainability at e-Research Australasia last year, pointed me at a great article by Max Kanat-Alexander from the Bugzilla Project on Code Simplicity which examines the factors leading to the growth of an open source community.

SWORD: A Software Ontology for Research Description

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

By James Malone, European Bioinformatics Institute.

The Software Ontology for Resource Description (SWORD) is a JISC funded project that seeks to develop a vocabulary that will help describe software used by the curation and data preservation community. The description of software is crucial in areas of digital preservation, service integration, text mining, service discovery for users and in describing the provenance of curated data in areas such as bioinformatics, other life sciences, the physical and social sciences and many more. Those working within these communities see…