Software and research: the Institute's Blog

Attachment and Turing: the un-disposal of ubiquitous AI

Latest version published on 7 October, 2016.

By Malte Ressin, research student at the University of West London.

There is a Garfield comic whose three panels tell a story that goes something like this:

John [optimistic]: Wouldn't it be great if everyday items could talk? The sink would say 'Good morning John', and the mirror would say 'You're looking splendid, John'.

Garfield [cynical]: I wouldn't like that. A blown light bulb would be like a death in the family.

Artificial intelligence and ubiquitous computing, should they ever arrive, might be just what John had in mind. Not only…

Software Engineering - too high a price to pay?

Latest version published on 7 October, 2016.

By Sarbjit Bakhshi, Lead Technologist ICT, Technology Strategy Board.

The following post is re-posted from Sarbjit's blog.

Having worked with small companies in ICT over a number of years, the most common question I get asked is “Do you know any good programmers willing to do some work for free, or for some future equity”. The answer is, and has always been, “no”. There are many good programmers out there in the UK and they know who they are and how much they can charge. There are plenty of bad programmers out there who will work for peanuts and will encourage in you a…

Extending and documenting RoboCup Rescue

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

By Heather Packer, Agent and research fellow at the University of Southampton.

Extending existing code bases can be problematic and time confusing due to a lack of documentation and comments, and a lack of clarity of the workflow between components. I have spent the last couple of months extending RoboCup Rescue - the standard, multi-agent search and rescue simulation platform - so that it contains more detailed and realistic information that can be modelled with ontologies. My extension enables agents to learn new information from these ontologies, and make choices based on the…

Simple, tangible, benefits for technically-minded academics

Latest version published on 17 November, 2016.

By Anna Powell-Smith, freelance web developer.

I recently attended the Collaborations Workshop as a supported developer: thanks to SSI for organising a very interesting two days. I'm a freelance web developer, and I came to the Collaborations Workshop partly to show off my Open Domesday project, the first free online copy of Domesday Book. But I also came to learn about the cutting edge of software in British academia, and observe the challenges that academics face when producing open data and open source code.

After a thought-provoking series of workshops, discussions…

An enterprise edition for open data

Latest version published on 7 October, 2016.

Christopher Gutteridge from the University of Southampton asked the Software Sustainability Institute for a chat about his plans for "data.southampton.ac.uk enterprise edition".

Chris and his colleagues have created data.southampton.ac.uk, a site exposing myriad data sets from the University of Southampton as linked open data. Underpinning data.southampton.ac.uk is a range of in-house and third-party open-source tools, interfaced and customised via configuration files and scripts.

Chris seeks to both make data.southampton.ac.uk more maintainable, so it can become a…

RTFM is a four-letter word

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

One of these four exchanges occurs regularly in everyday life…

Tourist: “I think I'm lost, please could you tell me how to get to the National Portrait Gallery?”

Policeman: “Read the f------ map!”

Diner: “Excuse me, what are today's specials?”

Waitress: “Read the f------ menu!”

Interviewer: “And, minister, what is your policy on unemployment?”

Politician: “Read the f------ manifesto!”

Researcher: “How do convert my model into a PDF as it doesn’t seem to work?”

Developer: “Read the f------…

Usability UK

Latest version published on 7 October, 2016.

Usability UK (UUK) is a new community meeting space for researchers and usability experts to share knowledge, expertise and experiences. The meeting space provides introductions to usability design and evaluation methods and the user-centred design life-cycle. Case-studies, based on experiences of JISC projects, demonstrate the practical application these methods. UUK also provides a directory of experts, and their areas of expertise, that you can contact if you seek advice on addressing usability on your project.

Announcing the Journal of Open Research Software - a software metajournal

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

The Software Sustainability Institute is delighted to announce that we have partnered with Ubiquity Press to launch the Journal of Open Research Software, a metajournal for research software. This enables all authors of research software to create a permanent, citable, open access record of their software, and enables all researchers to access and cite the software published in this way. In particular, the journal metapapers have an explicit reuse section as we believe that reuse is the most important thing a paper supports - it not only rewards the author, but leads to more efficient,…

A student's view from the Advanced School on Scientific Software Development

Latest version published on 7 October, 2016.

One of our software architects, Steve Crouch, taught a few sessions at the Advanced School on Scientific Software Development in Trieste this March. We were very pleased to read the following blog post by Yalda Kolahdooz, from the Sharif University of Technology, following the session on software sustainability.

Today's lectures were super-useful for me!

At the moment, my lab-mates and I are the only users of my software, and all the information about the software is exchanged verbally!!! No documentation, no formal procedures and licensing, etc. I was really…

Five top tips for promoting your software

Latest version published on 3 October, 2016.

When you’re focused on developing the next big thing, it’s easy to forget to tell people about it. The awful truth is that a lot of great software fails simply because no one knows that it exists.

Promoting software takes time and resources that a lot of projects lack, but just because you can’t put together a multi-million pound marketing campaign, doesn’t mean that you can’t take a few easy steps toward creating a presence for your software. We present our five top tips on promoting your software.

1. What is it?

People don’t have much time. You’ve got seconds – literally…