Software and research: the Institute's Blog

Ask Steve! - Security Decay: Enter the Dragon!

Latest version published on 30 September, 2016.

Security in complex systems is always a tricky business. Consider production Grid infrastructures as an example. The intricacies of establishing working trust relationships between the users and the infrastructure, and between the systems themselves, is a mammoth task. Solving problems with such systems is also very tricky, as I’ve previously found when developing EU-wide Grid interoperability demonstrators of open standards. They appear like dragons: huge, daunting, and difficult to defeat…

The WTFs/min indicator of code quality

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

In the OGSA-DAI blog, Adrian Mouat wrote a blog post about code quality - illustrated by a rather accurate diagram from OSNews. We've kindly been allowed to repeat the post below.

As part of my work on the OGSA-DAI Visual Workbench project, I needed to evaluate the ADMIRE codebase. This led me to investigate the issue of how to define software code quality and how to assess it. Note that I wasn’t investigating the functional qualities of the code – whether or not it meets the user’s requirements – but how well written is the code itself? If you’ve done any research into this…

Training researchers to code at the University of Glasgow

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

Since 2010, the University of Glasgow has been running primer courses to teach researchers simple coding. We asked Bill Wright, who runs the courses, to explain why Glasgow is investing time into teaching researchers about the benefits of, and methods for, coding.

There are few fields of research where IT does not play an important role: from researching prior work, data gathering, communication and presentation to performing sophisticated and complex analysis. Although third-party applications are the best software solution for many projects, a number of researchers find that…

Integrating orthopaedic systems: more than a knee-jerk reaction

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

There are over 300 different types of surgery for replacing knee joints, and each one of these procedures must be rigorously trialed to ensure that it meets health regulations. The VRIC team, with some help from the Software Sustainability Institute, has created software to help simplify the notoriously complex clinical-trial process, by integrating the processes and the information systems used in the trials (it's not exactly brain surgery...).

Orthopaedic research facilities support a hugely complex infrastructure that is needed to run clinical trials. To make matters worse,…

Technology Transfer and software sustainability

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

Thanks to Aleksandra Pawlik, a PhD student from the Open University, for this blog post on the role of Technology Transfer Offices in sustaining software. (If you're interested in the commercialisation of scientific software, take a look at her first blog post).

Not so long ago, the institute's website discussed the ACCESS ICT initiative, which aims to help researchers get funding for the commercialisation of their research. Programs such as ACCESS ICT are, however, only available for scientists who meet particular criteria. If you don’t fit the bill, but think that your…

Learn how to use national e-resources and manage your software and data

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

If you want to learn how to use national e-resources and manage your software and data, then register for the SeIUCCR  e-Infrastructure Summer School - there's only a few days left before registration closes on 15 August 2011.

Register for the event at the registration website.

The EPSRC-funded SeIUCCR project - pronounced sucker - holds its first four-day summer school at the idyllic Cosener's House in Abingdon (near Oxford) next month.

Exclusively for UK doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, the…

EGI training marketplace

Latest version published on 6 October, 2016.

By Richard McLennan and reproduced courtesy of EGI.

The new EGI Training Marketplace (developed by a dedicated team at STFC) went live on the 7 June and having now tested it, viewed it, talked about it and changed just a little here and there, the time has come to promote this potentially great addition to the EGI tool box. Why only potentially? Put simply, the Training Market place is a shiny new tool that needs users of grid computing to really start using it.

Visit the Training Marketplace.

While wondering how to introduce this new facility to…

Excellent progress on Collaborations Workshop outcomes

Latest version published on 3 October, 2016.

Back in June, I was asked to write about the fact that we've made every aspect of the Collaborations Workshop open. I wrote an article for the NGS Newsletter entitled "The fear of being open", in which I talked about the benefits (and fears) of working under the scutiny of the outside world. I also said that we would periodically review progress on the outcomes (the things that people thought would help the research community). We've just conducted the first review, and I'm very happy to report that we've completed almost half (13 out of 32) of the outcomes in the first…

Open Research Computation: an ordinary journal with extraordinary aims.

Latest version published on 10 November, 2016.

Open Research Computation (ORC) is a new journal that is dedicated to the discussion of software and services. It prime focus is on the standards to which software is developed, the reproducibility of the results it generates, and the accessibility of the software to analysis, critique and re-use. Cameron Neylon, ORC’s editor-in-chief, describes why he set up the journal and how it will help researchers build better software – a goal that’s shared by the Software Sustainability Institute.

I spend a lot of my time arguing that many of the problems in the research community are…

Ask Steve! - As a developer, why should you care about the research field you work in?

Latest version published on 30 September, 2016.

“Programming is 10% science, 20% ingenuity, and 70% getting the ingenuity to work with the science.” – Anon