Diego Alonso Álvarez
Research Computing Service, Imperial College London
I am very interested in improving the software sustainability culture amongst researchers, encouraging them to considering the code they write as valuable research outcomes, to promote that code, to create impact and get credit for it. I am also a member of the Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom, where I help to establish collaborations between Spain and the UK and disseminate scientific knowledge in public seminars and outreach events.
I am a senior Research Software Engineer within the Research Computing Service at Imperial College London. I joined the team in November 2018, coming from a background on semiconductor physics and solar cells, and I have enjoyed every minute of the work I have done so far in this role.
In a few words, I support researchers at Imperial designing the software they need for their work, refactoring existing code bases to make them more accessible or efficient, providing training and tools for them to improve their own software skills and coding practices, and organising outreach and community events. Along these lines, I have taught numerical Python in two Carpentry workshops, organised two very successful seminar series to promote the software developed at Imperial, and participated on the weakly RCS Clinic, a drop-in session to help researchers with software or HPC issues.
One of the highlights of my work so far has been the development StrainMap, a software to analyse, fast and accurately, magnetic resonance images of the heart, suitable for the clinical practice. This project was part of a BHF translational grant with a team at the Royal Brompton Hospital, who had a fantastic new technique to diagnose heart diseases but no means of making it accessible to clinicians due to the slowness and limited reproducibility of their data analysis software. This is an ongoing project and there is still much to be done!
One of the features of StrainMap is a graphical user interface (GUI) to increase its accessibility and usability. And precisely GUIs are the topic my SSI Fellowship. After the success of the workshop I organised at the UK RSE Conference 2019, I will organise a series of events in Glasgow, Nottingham and London during 2020 expanding on that experience, with more content, more hands-on session, on more time for attendees to learn on the value of a GUI for their software and how to create a good one.