Willkommen, bienvenue and welcome, to the sunlit uplands of the first post-Brexit RS Community newsletter! If you’re feeling downhearted with the state of the world be cheered knowing that even if it does feel like 1972 again, well, plus c’est la même chose. Out of the EU, workers on strike, but artificial intelligence is still exciting everyone, and there’s always ground-breaking work going on at Imperial. Perhaps we can conclude that man, like other primitive types, is fundamentally immutable.
And so to this month’s fun.
If you have time to look up from your code, Imperial is celebrating 70 years of its humanities programme with a series of events at the College throughout 2020. On Tuesday 10th March, come and hear environmental scientist and Imperial alumna Jane da Mosto discuss the issues facing her home city of Venice.
Register by the 17th March for Open Research @ Imperial to be held on Tuesday 24th.
20th March: a lunchtime seminar at the DSI on the Future of AI in Healthcare by Imperial alumnus Dr Saurabh Johri.
Coming up on the 26th and 27th March the latest set of Software Carpentry workshops here at Imperial will be on Bash, Git and Python.
Ah, ladies: an opportunity to talk about your R stats work and presumably sample some takeaway too, also on the 26th March.
Looking ahead: your contributions, proposals, papers are humbly requested now for:
Congratulations to Chris Cave-Ayland, who’s been appointed Talks Chair at RSECon2020, and to Jeremy Cohen, who has a paper coming up in IEEE Software entitled The Four Pillars of Research Software Engineering.
A new Imperial user group on OpenFOAM is proposed by Felipe Huerta, who writes:
OpenFOAM is an open-source CFD C++ library widely used in the industry and academia. At Imperial College, researchers from different departments and groups use OpenFOAM, but mainly isolated. I propose a group that aims to create a supportive environment where we can share good practice, collaborate, and share our ruminations that arise after our OpenFOAM simulations don’t run. This way, we can support beginners and accelerate their learning, and also increase the quality & impact of our research. If you are interested on being part of this community, please first join to the Imperial Research Software Community Slack channel. We aim to share good practice, organize activities such as coffee gatherings, Hackathons and any other idea that you think beneficial to OpenFOAM users.
As REF hysteria mounts, you may wish to conceal from your heads of department this brazen attempt to spread the pain to you, too.
On a related note: the RSE team have prepared a guide to recording software as a research output in Symplectic.
The College has decided to give up its Matlab license for Lent. (No, it has not. Ed.)
Running Jupyter notebooks on Imperial College’s compute cluster (mentioned in this month’s Tracking Jupyter) just got easier with instructions and example repository here.
Learn to code and count nucleotides at the same time with Rosalind, a mildly competitive platform for learning bioinformatics and programming through problem solving.
Pandas 101 appeared earlier this month, and everyone’s (other) favourite Python library gets a write up in Nature Methods: SciPy 1.0: fundamental algorithms for scientific computing in Python.
The good people of R Studio held a conference and have posted videos online, as have FOSDEM 2020 - an event to promote the use of free and open source software - in particular the “Open Research Tools and Technologies” and “HPC, Big Data, and Data Science” devrooms
Here’s a collection of laws for developers if you like that kind of thing.
And finally, a scholarly overview of trends in data science, ML and AI in Python.
A few newsletters ago we wrote about a lightweight Python web framework called Streamlit, which I tried using on a project this month. The best way I can think of to describe it is that it’s like R Studio’s Shiny but for Python - in other words a good thing, in my book. I got a simple web interface to a command line tool working quickly - it has a bunch of ready-made UI widgets for user input and results display (tables, graphs) and is very easy to wire up - but then discovered that it wouldn’t let me style the page with my own CSS, so I went with Dash in the end. I’d still recommend Streamlit for a quick prototype - all those callbacks in Dash make my head swim - but I like my divs the way I like ‘em, so there we are. Faut souffrir pour être belle.
Registration is open for the RSE team’s two courses on Essential Software Engineering for Researchers:
The Research Software Community is run by a committee of 8 volunteers. We’re always looking for new committee members to help bring new ideas, organise events, edit our newsletters and generally help in making the community work for its members. If you’d like to get involved, or you have any questions, contact Jeremy Cohen.
A new Slack workspace is available for members of the RS Community and RSEs based at nearby institutions. It was set up following discussions at December’s Winter Seminars event and you can join via this link.
The Research Computing Service continues to run a weekly clinic for all matters related to research computing. Bring along your HPC or programming problem or just come to talk to the RSE team about your (or their!) work. See the schedule for dates and locations of upcoming clinics.
If you’re developing open source research software at Imperial then please consider submitting it to the Research Software Directory by either opening a pull request or dropping a line to Mark Woodbridge (email@example.com).
That’s all for this month. Thanks to everyone who suggested links for this edition.
Drop us a line with anything you’d like included in the newsletter, ideas about how it could be improved… or even offer to guest-edit a future edition! firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This issue of the Research Software Community Newsletter was edited by Jazz Mack Smith. All previous newsletters are available in our online archive.