May is finally seeing the end of the lockdown, and we all hope it is truly the end and not just the calm before another storm. On the bright side, with shops, bars and museums open, cinemas and theatres getting up to speed, and the weather hopefully giving us some rest, we should all take this opportunity to go out and mingle in person. We all need it. Even if it is outdoors, at a safe distance, we all need human contact, and dance, and drink and laugh. So do not waste time and get out as soon as you are done with your working hours.
But the world of research software still has a lot to offer you, so while you are working or maybe if you want some nice reading before going to bed, have a look at what we can offer you this month!
In this month’s newsletter:
Registration is open for the next Graphical User Interfaces for Research Software workshop being organised by Imperial RSE team member, Diego Alonso Álvarez. This will take place 22nd-24th June 2021. On the event page, you can also find the material used during the first event in this series.
EuroPython2021 will take place online July 26th - Aug 1st. The Call for Proposals opened and closed pretty fast (keep an eye on the webpage for a possible second round), but you can now register and get all you can from this huge event.
The sktime community (sktime is a unified framework for machine learning with time series) of the Alan Turing Institute is organising the 2021 summer programme, held virtually. It consists of events and activities which can be joined separately, from May to August.
The Early Career Program (part of the SC21 conference), will be held virtually this year. It “is a series of workshop-style sessions intended to help guide early-career researchers within the first five years of a permanent position in navigating a successful career path”. Applications close July 31, 2021.
Also in the remit of SC21, the PAW-ATM workshop “aims to serve as a forum for exhibiting parallel applications developed using high-level parallel programming models that serve as alternatives to MPI+X-based programming”. Submissions deadline: July 23, 2021.
If you’re working in the area of distributed computing / cloud and the economic aspects of systems in this domain, GECON2021, the 18th International Conference on Economics of Grids, Clouds, Systems & Services, is still accepting paper submissions. The initial abstract submission deadline is 31st May with the full paper/short paper submission deadline on 7th June 2021.
The Digital Humanities and Research Software Engineering virtual summer school takes place 26th-30th July 2021. Applications to attend close on the 8th June. Further details
PeerJ Computer Science has a call open for a special issue on Software Citation, Indexing, and Discoverability. The deadline for submissions is 16th July 2021.
The Call for new Imperial RS Community committee members is still open, so consider volunteering and helping to shape the role of research software at Imperial. Committee members help to organise and run a range of research software events and training courses, maintain our website and promote the importance of maintainable, sustainable, robust research software across the College. Contact Jeremy Cohen if you’d like to volunteer as a committee member or you have any questions about what’s involved.
The Research Software London (RSLondon) community has just come to the end of a week of Software Carpentry training sessions as part of a pair of workshops covering use of the bash shell, Git version control and either Python or R. Co-organised by a team from Imperial, UCL, Queen Mary University of London and University of Westminster, these were the largest workshops the community has run so far. We’d like to thank the huge team of over 30 volunteer instructors and helpers who each supported one or more of the sessions across the 6 days of the two workshops.
The workshops teach core computing and programming skills that are vital for undertaking modern computational research and data analysis. Attendees generally include a mix of researchers, clinicians and research students from a wide range of different domains.
As anyone who has tried this since the start of the pandemic will be aware, running large training workshops online can be challenging. In comparison to in-person workshops, it can be difficult to know if participants are keeping up with the material, especially with hands-on, tutorial-style content. Providing assistance and answering questions can also be much more challenging. With these workshops, we trialed the use of small breakout groups, each with a dedicated helper, to undertake the exercise elements of the material and provide regular opportunities for participants to ask questions. Initial feedback suggests that participants found the use of breakout groups to be very beneficial.
If you feel your team/group/department could benefit from one of these workshops and you’d be interested to explore the possibility of running one, the research software community can help. Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good news for getting appropriate recognition for research software in scientific papers! Elsevier has now included in their guidelines for authors - in some journals, for now - explicit instructions on how to cite software, following the guidelines described in this article published in January by Daniel S Katz et al. While just a few lines of text, this move puts software a step closer to being a first class research output.
A new self-service course on Message-Passing Programming with MPI has been launched by the ARCHER2 team.
Have you ever heard of the FAIR principles? Findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. Applying them to software brings some challenges, and also requires lots of work to be done by RSEs, researchers and institutions alike. A discussion of some of the many issues that need to be tackled is provided in Implementing FAIR for research software: attitudes, advantages and challenges blog post, co-authored by Imperial RSE team member, Diego Alonso Álvarez.
Episodes 7 and 8 of the Code for Thought RSE podcast were released on 27th April and 11th May 2021. These episodes are a two-part podcast on the Julia programing language: what it is used for and the community of developers creating it (part 1), and first-hand insights from engineers using Julia for their daily work (part 2). One of these engineers is Jarvis Frost, research fellow in the Department of Physics at Imperial College.
Have you ever copied code from StackOverflow? Do not feel bad - it is actually what that knowledge is there for. The Stack Overflow team has just published a fascinating study on the way people copy information from their posts, in some cases showing rather unexpected trends!
Also by the StackOverflow team, their recent A look under the hood: how branches work in Git article reveals how simple yet incredibly powerful the branching system used by Git is. You can skip the first introductory part if you want to go straight to the answer.
The Society of Research Software Engineering announced the SeptembRSE conference, which will take place online, throughout the month of September 2021, at an event on Thursday 29th April. You can watch the video here.
This month we bring you an open source tool created by Imperial’s Load Control and Aeroelastics lab to simulate and analyse coupled structural and aerodynamic modelling. At its core, SHARPy is a nonlinear aeroelastic analysis package that can be used on both free-flying aircraft, clamped structures and wind turbines. In addition, it supports linearisation of these nonlinear systems about arbitrary conditions and includes various tools such as model reduction or frequency analysis. The interface and core-code are written - not surprisingly - in Python, while computationally expensive routines are included in libraries coded in C++ and Modern Fortran, UVLM and xbeam respectively, also open source tools created by the same team.
RS Community coffee continues weekly via Teams - normally on Friday afternoons at 3pm but check our Slack workspace for exact times and connection details.
The Imperial RSE Community Slack workspace also features channels for communities of individuals interested in or working with particular tools or topics. If you’re an OpenFOAM user, why not join the #OpenFOAM channel where regular code review sessions are announced (amongst other CFD-related discussions…). Users of the Nextflow workflow tool can find other Imperial Nextflow users in #nextflow. You can find other R developers in #r-users and there is the #DeepLearners channel for our new AI/ML group. Take a look at the other available channels by clicking the “+” next to “Channels” in the Slack app and selecting “Browse channels”. If you want to start your own group around a tool, programming language or topic not currently represented, feel free to create a new channel and advertise it in #general.
See the Research Computing Service’s Research Computing Tips series for a variety of helpful tips for using RCS resources and related tools and services.
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! email@example.com.
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This issue of the Research Software Community Newsletter was edited by Diego Alonso Álvarez. All previous newsletters are available in our online archive.