Greetings, Imperial RSEs!
Hopefully you survived the recent roasting and the subsequent soaking that followed. Even in the summer lull, there are still lots of things happening in the world of research software engineering for those of us who are not chilling out on a beach somewhere sunny!
In this newsletter:
On the 9th and 10th July, the Research Software London community ran its first regional Software Carpentry workshop. The workshop was jointly organised by Imperial, UCL and Queen Mary with Queen Mary hosting the workshop at their Mile End Campus. Several Imperial software carpentry volunteers and members of the Imperial research software community were involved in organising and running the workshop along with organisers, instructors and helpers from UCL and Queen Mary. The workshop covered a standard Software Carpentry syllabus with the attendees being taught the basics of the Unix shell and git on the first day of the workshop with an introduction to Python on the second day.
The majority of attendees were from Queen Mary, UCL and Imperial but spaces were also made available to the wider RSLondon community. This provided a great opportunity for newcomers to the research software field from institutions that don’t currently run carpentry workshops to attend and learn some core computing and software development skills. More than 30 people registered for the workshop and we received significant positive feedback as well as helpful suggestions on possible enhancements for future workshops.
Building on the success of this event, RSLondon are planning to run further such workshops and are looking at other areas covered by The Carpentries for future sessions, in addition to Software Carpentry. If you have contacts at other institutions in London and the South East region who you think would be interested in hosting or attending an RSLondon Carpentry workshop later in 2019, get in touch with Jeremy Cohen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Full report available here
Last month, two new packages from the Reside-IC team were released: jsonvalidate and jQuery TreeTables. jsonvalidate is an R package for working with JSON schema, while jQuery TreeTables is an npm package for displaying tree data when using jQuery DataTables. They also released odin to CRAN last week, which is their R to C compiler for differential equations.
Two Reside-IC members also recently presented at userR! 2019: Richard Fitzjohn on Odin and Zhian Kamvar on R4epis
17-19 September: RSE 2019 will be held at the University of Birmingham. Registration closes imminently on 31 July! Also, don’t miss the Research Software Engineers for the Future Careers Panel on the 18 September 1.30pm - 2.30pm.
2-6 September: 12th European Conference on Python in Science in Bilbao, Spain. Ticket sales end on 22 August.
25-27 September: The Imperial College Research Computing Summer School 2019 - this year dedicated to machine learning.
28 September: The Festival of Maintenance in Liverpool. A celebration of those who maintain different parts of our world, and how they do it, recognising the often hidden work done in repair, custodianship, stewardship, tending and caring for the things that matter. And that includes code maintainers everywhere…
17 November: Supercomputing 2019, Denver, Colorado, includes the International Workshop on Software Engineering for HPC-Enabled Research.
20 November: NL-RSE 2019 in Amsterdam follows on from similar RSE events in the UK and Germany.NL-RSE 19 is co-located with the National eScience Symposium 2019. Deadline for submissions is 20 September.
This month’s Research Software of the Month is ParaView
ParaView is an open-source, multi-platform data analysis and visualization application, written in C++. ParaView users can quickly build visualizations to analyse their data using qualitative and quantitative techniques. The data exploration can be done interactively in 3D or programmatically using ParaView’s batch processing capabilities and Python scripting.
ParaView is built on the popular open-source visualisation framework VTK and, besides the standard capabilities of many rendering packages, ParaView also supports a range of advanced features for large-scale data processing, including parallel rendering and ParaView Catalyst for in-situ visualisation, allowing you to observe the solution to large-scale problems as they are being simulated on HPC clusters.
ParaView is available in most Linux distributions and can be downloaded pre-compiled for most operating systems from their website.
If you have a suggestion for software that you’d like to see us feature in this section, please email rse-committee at imperial.ac.uk.
As always, keep an eye on this page for in-house up-coming training events. If you have any questions about Software Carpentry or any of the other listed training courses please email Katerina Michalickova.
Don’t forget the weekly drop-in sessions for anything relating to Research Computing (including RSE), which will continue throughout the summer. Now is a great-time to overcome that tricky problem that has been bugging you all year!
The Imperial College Advanced Hackspace may be of interest too.
Daniel Katz’s recent blog post provides us with an alternative perspective on how RSEs are positioned on a Software Engineering / Research spectrum, highlighting an additional SuperRSE role.
For those of you working with data sets in Python using Pandas, here is a nice collection of tips to make your life easier.
How do you motivate researchers to adopt better software practices? A blog post co-authored by RSE Team member Diego Alonso-Álvarez:
“good software practices do bring real benefits to researchers and it is in […] getting them to a point where they can realise those benefits, that the biggest challenge lies.”
The next IDEAS Best Practices for HPC Software Developers webinar on 14 August is about Software Management Plans and is presented by Shoaib Sufi of the Software Sustainability Institute.
A recent Nature article explains How to support open-source software and stay sane:
“Releasing lab-built open-source software often involves a mountain of unforeseen work for the developers.”
Celebrating Apollo’s 50th Anniversary: The Oldest Code on GitHub describes some of the software behind the first moon landings:
“In the early stages, there were no ‘programmers.’ Instead, engineers and scientists learned the techniques of programming. It was believed that competent engineers could learn programming more easily than programmers could learn engineering.”
That’s all for this month, and thanks to everyone who suggested links for this edition. If you’d like anything included in the newsletter, have ideas about how it could be improved, or would even like to guest-edit a future edition then just drop us a line at rse-committee at imperial.ac.uk. And if you’re reading this on the web and would like to receive the next newsletter directly to your inbox then please subscribe here.
This edition of the Research Software Community Newsletter was edited by Chris Cantwell