Hello everyone and welcome to September’s newsletter. This month we are looking forward to Hacktoberfest and we continue our “Research Computing at Imperial” series with a personal introduction from Chris Cave-Ayland of Imperial’s excellent Research Software Engineering Team within the Research Computing Service.
September 30: Cynthia Dwork is giving a lecture at the Turing Institute entitled “What are Your Chances?” to talk about her work on Outcome Indistinguishability and individual risk prediction in AI.
October 5: submit preliminary documents to the 5th ARCHER2 eCSE call, which provides funding to RSEs developing software to run on ARCHER2. There are also a couple of ARCHER2 workshops coming up that may of interest if you’re working with the development of parallel code and particularly if you want to run it on ARCHER2 (which is the UK’s National Supercomputing Service, if you haven’t heard of it):
October 6 is the deadline for submitting proposals for papers, tutorials and special sessions at the International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, & Signal Processing (ICASSP). It’s actually happening in Singapore! Imagine that.
October 6-8: a 2021 edition of the clearly named Workshop on Sustainable Software Sustainability is taking place online. It’s organized jointly by the UK Software Sustainability Institute and the Netherlands eScience Center and DANS institute. This report from the last one in 2019 is quite hard to track down so I include the link here; your editor found it surprisingly informative and interesting.
October 12: still time to give your career a nudge by signing up as a mentor or a mentee with the Society of RSE.
October 19–21: Microsoft is throwing a free, global online “Research Summit” which they say “is geared toward academics, researchers, engineers, industry leaders, and tech enthusiasts”. Register here.
October 26-28: Registration is open for the next Graphical User Interfaces for Research Software workshop being organised by Imperial RSE team member, Diego Alonso Álvarez. You can also find the material used during the first event in this series.
October 31 is the closing date for the Software Sustainability Institute’s 2022 Fellowship Programme, now open for applications.
Hacktoberfest 2021 is almost here! If you run an open source project and would like contributions from the wider community, now’s the time to start looking for issues that you think may be suitable tasks for contributors to undertake as part of Hacktoberfest. Mark your issues with the
Hacktoberfest tag if you’d like to make them visible to potential contributors. If you’re looking to help out others by contributing to their projects, you can sign up and start looking for projects to contribute to.
After almost a month of talks, panels and workshop sessions, SeptembRSE, this year’s virtual RSE conference, is almost at an end. If you’ve not had a chance to join the conference, videos of the sessions are available on the Society of Research Software Engineering channel on YouTube.
We continue our series of introductions from key members of the College community helping to run, manage and support research computing and research software services. This month we have an introduction from Chris Cave-Ayland, a Senior Research Software Engineer with the Research Computing Service:
I came to RSE through a fairly classic path. I was a PhD/post-doc who spent too much time writing code and not enough writing papers. I realised the activities in research that I enjoyed were not those that an academic career led to. I’d been aware of the RSE movement for some time and increasingly thought it looked like a place I could thrive. Eventually I made the jump to HPC administration for a year and then to the Imperial RSE team two and half years ago. I’ve yet to look back.
Whilst my own background is in computational chemistry, what I enjoy most about my role is the variety of different projects we get to work with. Since starting in the team I’ve worked on webservers for Astrophysicists, genetic analysis pipelines and a big HPC project with the Met Office to name but a few. I still find it fun to be the person who swings into a research project with solutions and to be able to drive real tangible improvements.
It’s an interesting time for the RSE team as we have a lot of leverage to drive our future direction. I’m keen to see us engage with new parts of the College, keep up-to-date with ongoing technological developments and lean in to my experience with HPC for future collaborations.
Biology domain experts ahoy! Here’s a “gentle introduction to a few key machine learning techniques” especially for you, just out in Nature.
Remote, hybrid or office-based: how should RSEs be working as we emerge from the pandemic? by Jeffrey Carver, Jeremy Cohen and Caroline Jay, has just been published on the SSI blog as one of the outputs from a speed blogging session at SE4Science last June, part of the International Conference on Computational Science (ICCS21).
A review of the SE4Science Workshop at ICCS 2021 by Matthew Bluteau refers to a recently published paper presented there looking at EDI challenges in the RSE community, Understanding Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Challenges Within the Research Software Community
Over the last couple of months we’ve highlighted a series of blog posts being run by the Society of Research Software Engineering on getting to know the 2021 RSE Fellows. Here’s the latest available online:
FORCE11’s Research Data Publishing Ethics working group has just released a document on Recommendations for the handling of ethical concerns relating to the publication of research data
Why are hyperlinks blue? Now we know!
This month’s pick is Solidity, a general purpose, two and three dimension finite–discrete element method (FDEM) solid mechanics code developed in the Applied Modelling and Computation Group at Imperial College. Solidity solves highly non-linear problems for continuum and discontinuous domains. Features include fracture and fragmentation without the need to seed, a range of finite strain large deformation constitutive models including elasto-plasticity and thermal fields. It is primarily a C/C++ code and supports multithreaded execution.
The general purpose nature of Solidity is one of its biggest strengths, making it useful in a very broad range of application like modelling face mask mechanics and Covid-19 transmission, describing the behaviour of artery wall under blood flow, modelling rock avalanching into a lake or mechanical performance of catalyst pellets.
Solidity is still a close source tool but its open sourcing is planned for the upcoming months. Please contact Solidity’s principal investigator Dr John-Paul Latham or lead developer Dr Jiansheng Xiang if you are interested in using the software before that happy time arrives.
…continues weekly via Teams - normally on Friday afternoons at 3pm but check our Slack workspace for exact times and connection details.
The Imperial Research Software Community Slack workspace is a place for general community discussion as well as featuring channels for individuals interested in 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.
Imperial’s Research Software Directory provides details of a range of research software and tools developed by groups and individuals at the College. If you’d like to see your software included in the directory, you can open a pull request in the GitHub Repository or get in touch with the Research Software Community Committee.
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 Jazz Mack Smith. All previous newsletters are available in our online archive.