Community

CW18pic_0.pngBy Raniere Silva, Community Officer.

Mini-workshops & demos are a unique opportunity that Collaborations Workshop attendees have to share a particular software product, approach, standard, etc. The deadline for proposals is 28th February at 23:59.

This year, we already have four mini-workshops & demos for Collaborations Workshop 2018: "Making research software easily citable with the Citation File Format" with Stephan Druskat, "Code is Science—open source scientific code manifesto" with Yo Yehudi, "Python testing with pytest" with Matt Williams, and a session related to Overleaf, one of our Platinum Sponsors, with John Lees-Miller and Villy Ioannou. More information about these sessions is available at the mini-workshops & demos page.

There is still time to join this incredible group of facilitators and share something from your researcher utility belt or discuss approaches to boost culture change or productivity. For those that need a bit of inspiration, proposals on the lines of "Using GitLab to project manage home renovation priorities" or "100% Emacs: How To Do Everything In Emacs" will be considered…

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CW17.pngBy Nikoleta Glynatsi, Software Sustainability Institute fellow

The Collaborations Workshop is an annual workshop organised by the Software Sustainability Institute since 2012. The aim of the event is to bring together research software engineers, researchers and other parties interested in research software.

I became a Sustainable Software Institute Fellow as part of the 2017 cohort and one of my “commitments” as a fellow was attending the Collaborations Workshop 2017 (CW17), which did not feel like a commitment at all. CW17 took place from the 27th to the 29th of March, at the University of Leeds.

The theme of the workshop is different every year. At CW17 the theme was the Internet of Things (IoT) and open data in research. IoT refers to the networking of devices that enable those devices to send and receive data to and from each other. The IoT can be used by researchers to collect raw data and perform analysis for new insights. Open data refers to the concept that data should be freely available for everyone to use, but it's not limited to the raw data from IoT.

The event included two great keynotes; the first one about the IoT, delivered by Usman Haque. This discussed a number of ways that IoT can help engage people and communities. The second talk was about open…

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The Software Sustainability Institute is organising the “Workshop: Impact of international collaborations in research software”, taking place on Tuesday 24th April 2018, at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

We welcome submissions of posters from researchers based in the UK that demonstrate the impact of computational research / research enabled by software. We’re particularly looking for examples of how collaboration has benefited your work and will give priority to EPSRC researchers, though all research domain areas will be considered. The best examples will also be offered a short presentation slot (5-10 minutes) at the event.

Submissions (of no more than one A4 page) should include a short description of your research and the software used, an example of the impact it has had, and the role that collaboration has played in your work.

Please submit your proposal via this form by 16th March 2018.

Register for the event at http://bit.ly/rseimpact

Further information

Earlier this year, EPSRC awarded the Software Sustainability Institute and EPCC money to fund UK-US RSE collaboration and to run a “Best Use of Archer competition”. As part of the planned activity funded by this grant, this event will showcase the impact of the awards and provide a space to discuss opportunities to build on international collaboration.…

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cw186.pngBy Raniere Silva, Community Officer.

Two activities that form part of  all our Collaborations Workshop are the discussion session and collaborative ideas session. They may not be self-explanatory, but we assure you they are a great opportunity for attendees to interact and exchange ideas.

For Collaborations Workshop first-timers, including our fellows, the discussion session and collaborative ideas session may be completely new. So in this blog we will explain these two sessions and provide some tips on how to make the best of them.

Discussion session

Based on the information that attendees provide during registration, we create a list of topics that they might find interesting to discuss. For example, during CW17 we had "Best practices in Open Data and IoT data; tools & frameworks, analysis patterns and data management", "Improving diversity in research software projects and events", "How to give a kind and balanced software review" and many others. Topics can also be suggested by participants on the day—last year suggestions included "Research, Research IT, and IT: cultural bridging. Or, 'how to stop the IT department slowing down my science'".

At the very beginning of the discussion session, attendees vote for the topic they want to discuss and groups start to form. Once the groups are formed, we assign them…

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14963879736_f7c42086ea_z.jpgBy Mark Woodbridge, Research Software Engineering Team Lead

This is the first in a series of blog posts by the Research Software Engineering team at Imperial College London describing activities funded by their RSE Cloud Computing Award. The team is exploring the use of selected Microsoft Azure services to accelerate the delivery of RSE projects via a cloud-first approach. This post was originally published at the Imperial London College Research Software Engineering team blog. 

A great way to explore an unfamiliar cloud platform is to deploy a familiar tool and compare the process with that used for an on-premise installation. In this case we’ll set up an open source continuous delivery system (Drone) to carry out automated testing of a simple Python project hosted on GitHub. Drone is not as capable or flexible as alternatives like Jenkins (which we’ll consider in a subsequent post) but it’s a lot simpler and a suitable example…

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The culmination of two years’ work by the Pistoia Alliance project team, the UXLS Toolkit provides material on UX education, methods and use cases compiled especially for life scientists. It is pitched at busy UX specialists, in silico analysts and bench scientists in an easily, accessible self-help style who all need better software. UX for Life Sciences Toolkit was created to enable businesses to adopt UX principles and methods as they develop scientific software.

UX is a powerful tool for supporting the creation of effective and usable interfaces. Whilst UX is relatively widespread, the full potential of UX is still to be realised in the life sciences. The goal of this project is to empower life science professionals to get the most from these UX resources. The unique selling point of the UXLS toolkit is its focus on issues faced in developing digital products specifically for R&D in the life science and healthcare environments. More generally, it is a useful resource about the often forgotten area of UX, and the toolkit’s core ideas should be transferable to any research area. This new toolkit might be of particular interest to the RSE community who develop software products for a range of research areas.

Additionally, the Pistoia Alliance UXLS Project Team will be holding its inaugural USA conference at Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, MA, on Tuesday 15th May 2018.

From 29 to 31 May 2018, PRACE will organise the fifth edition of its Scientific and Industrial Conference—PRACEdays18—under the motto "HPC for Innovation: when Science meets Industry" in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

At this occasion, the third PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC will be presented to an outstanding female scientist. Please read the announcement for more information on this award, the nomination process, and the selection criteria.

The deadline to send nominations to submissions-pracedays@prace-ri.eu is Thursday 1 March 2018.

 

groupc.pngBy Stuart Grieve, Research Software Developer, University College London, Eike Mueller, Lecturer in Scientific Computing, University of Bath, Alexander Morley, DPhil in Neuroscience, University of Oxford, Matt Upson, Data Scientist, Government Digital Service, Richard Adams (Chair), Reader, Cranfield University, Michael Clerx, Post-doctoral researcher in Computational Cardiac Electrophysiology, University of Oxford.

This blog post was motivated by a discussion amongst academics and research software engineers from different disciplines on the challenge of writing good, sustainable software in teams with different backgrounds. Specifically, how can a mixed team of, say, scientists, librarians, engineers and project managers be encouraged to write good software together?

Our discussions led us to two broad recommendations: first, to ensure that research software…

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2011.11.15_building_software.pngBy Adam Tomkins (Chair), University of Sheffield, James Grant, University of Bath, Alexander Morley, University of Oxford, Stuart Grieve, University College London, Tania Allard, University of Sheffield.

There is a growing interest in the adoption of software best practices in research computing and allied fields. Best practices improve the quality of research software and efficiency in development and maintenance as well having the potential to deliver benefits outside software development.  However, this interest in these methods is not universal and there is a possibility that a drive for best practice could lead to a widening divide between those who embrace this change and those who do not. It is therefore vital that Research Software Engineers (RSEs) work closely with domain specialists, to bridge this divide and attempt to meet the challenges of efficiency and reproducibility:

  • How do we…

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6375359117_dc18c1a762_z.jpgBy Sam Cox, University of Leicester, Richard Adams, Cranfield University, Eike Müller, Met Office.

The role of software in research and who writes it

From an institutional level down to teams and even individuals, research today is heavily reliant upon software and particularly upon bespoke computer code which solves specific scientific problems.. This creates a huge demand for software creation and maintenance. Traditionally, this has been the responsibility of post-docs and postgraduates. But while they play a crucial role in the success of the research group, the indirect nature of the translation of their work into papers (particularly the maintenance and update work to keep on keep the software fit-for-purpose under changing scientific requirements) can leave the individual researchers at a disadvantage—they have less time for the more traditional work of running experiments and writing papers. This in turn has an effect upon their career progression, which hinges on clear metrics for success.

As a result, one major issue is how to identify what ‘…

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