What a month! Finally, after two years of only an online presence, the RSECon has returned and the whole community in the UK and beyond has been able to meet again, mingle and renew bonds. In addition, we have resumed the Imperial RS Community seminars, have more events in the pipeline and the support and enthusiasm for good quality software and proper data analysis workflows does not cease to grow.
We are very excited to see what the first term of the new academic year will bring and how the whole `` Imperial RS Community shines in these troublesome and uncertain times in politics, the economy and wellbeing. So, let the show begin!
The next Crick Data Challenge event will take place on the 12th-14th October 2022. There’s still time to register - see the link for external participant registration which can be found in the second paragraph on the event page.
Registrations are open for the second Nordic-RSE online unconference which will take place on the 18th and 19th October 2022. Visit the conference website for more details and registration.
Hacktoberfest 2022 is almost here! Contribute to open source projects, making 4 high-quality pull requests during the month of October to complete the challenge. Be one of the first 40,000 people to complete the challenge to receive a prize! We will be running an event on Wednesday 19th of October to help you contribute to the open source community! Includes talks, hacking time and pizzas! Keep an eye on the event webpage for more details and registration.
Continuing our series highlighting key members of the College community helping to provide, manage and support research computing and research software services, this month we have an introduction from Callum West, Software Developer Apprentice within the RSE Team:
I’m one of the fresh new faces joining the ICT Department through the Multiverse Apprenticeship scheme. We’ve spent the last 3 months developing our coding skills through a number of different projects and now I’m joining the RSE team to develop those skills further with even more exciting projects!
Something that I’d always sought from a potential career was a sense of creation, having the product of my work be something I can be proud of. While learning to code I’ve put my all into creating numerous web apps and games, and I plan on bringing the same enthusiasm to the various projects I’ll be working on with RSE. Problem solving to achieve desired functionality is something I’m finding incredibly rewarding and enjoyable, and I’m very excited to be working with the RSE team so I can sink my teeth into more challenges.
Our Research Software of the Month for September is the Global Health Policy Simulation model (Health-GPS).
The Health-GPS microsimulation tool supports researchers and policy makers in the analysis of the health and economic impacts of alternative measures to tackle chronic diseases and obesity in children. The model reproduces the characteristics of a population and simulates key individual event histories associated with key components of relevant behaviours, such as physical activity, and diseases such as diabetes or cancer.
The Health GPS microsimulation is being developed in collaboration between the Centre for Health Economics & Policy Innovation (CHEPI), Imperial College London; and INRAE, France; as part of the STOP project. The software architecture uses a modular design approach to provide the building blocks of the Health GPS application, which is implemented using object-oriented principles in Modern C++ programming language targeting the C++20 standard. With thorough and beautifully presented documentation, the tool is a fantastic example of how to create good quality software.
Health-GPS is the first participant in the new Open Source Booster Programme created by the RSE Team to support and enhance the impact and quality of open-source codes created at Imperial.
You still have a few days to apply to the Software Sustainability Institute Fellowship Programme 2023!. This programme provides an excellent opportunity to obtain some funding to support you in activities that you are keen to pursue and that are also in line with the SSI’s aims and goals. This may include things like attending conferences/workshops and running events.
Learn more about what the Software Sustainability Institute’s Fellows have been doing in the Fellows’ August 2022 Newsletter, including a report from our own community committee member Diego Alonso Álvarez.
RSE Code Surgeries have expanded their availability! The RSE Team is now fully committed to this service for the Imperial research community and now offers slots Mondays afternoons and Tuesday mornings every 2 weeks. You can book your appointment between 1 and 4 weeks in advance in the following link.
The purpose of the RSE Code Surgeries is to provide long-term impact for custom code bases. Topics that may be covered in these sessions include software development best practices (version control, testing, code architecture, continuous integration), code review, software optimisation, packaging, distribution and publication.
The first edition of the Open Source Booster Programme created by the RSE Team is over… for now. A new call is planned for January 2023 and every two months afterwards, so keep an eye on this Newsletter and the Imperial RS Community Slack workspace.
Imperial’s guidance on open source software licences has just been updated. Take a look at the revised information for guidance on how to go about licensing your open source software. This is an area that can be complex and confusing for academic researchers and developers and this really useful resource takes a clear and pragmatic approach to offering help and advice.
The Software Heritage project is working to build a universal source code archive. They have just released a browser extension that supports the widely used repositories GitHub, BitBucket and GitLab and displays an overlay when viewing a repository that shows whether the repository is archived by Software Heritage and whether the currently archived copy is up to date.
If you could not live the RSECon22 yourself, do not worry! The RSE Team has prepared a distilled version of some of its technical highlights that you can read in this blogpost.
A Software Sustainability Institute blog post “Transforming qPCR data into meaningful plots for DSF analysis using Python” reporting on their Learning to Code mentorship programme that was run as a part of the recent Next steps in coding Research Software Camp.
Also from the Software Sustainability Institute this month, again relating to the Next steps in coding Research Software Camp, are a set of short blog posts from participants in the mentorship programme run as part of the event and reflecting on their experiences: Building workflows - research software development; Using Python to analyse keywords in company reports; An introduction to using Python
September has been very prolific for the Code for Thought podcast, with three new episodes released:
Imperial’s Research Software Community relies on its community committee to help keep these monthly newsletters appearing in your inbox, to run events and to advocate for the importance of good research software development practices across the College.
Some longstanding members of our committee are moving on due to work commitments and we’re looking for at least two new committee members to help with running the community.
Why join the committee? Joining the committee provides a great opportunity to get more involved with research software at Imperial, help to make new connections and to build your network across departments and faculties within the College. You’ll also have the chance to provide your thoughts and input on the type of events the community should be running, how we engage with the College’s research community and to get actively involved in event organisation and research software training.
What do we ask of you? As a voluntary role, we ask that you commit to help out with the running of the community on a best efforts basis, contributing time and input as and when you’re able to, around the constraints of your main role. We expect committee members to edit an edition of the newsletter at least twice a year and encourage you to engage with discussions in our community Slack workspace to help keep the community active. Other activities you might like to get involved with include event planning and organisation and keeping the website up to date. We also ask that you confirm with your supervisor/line manager that they’re happy for you to take on this role.
If you’re interested to join the committee or have questions, get in touch with Jeremy Cohen.
RS Community coffee
…continues weekly via Teams - normally on Friday afternoons at 3pm but check our Slack workspace for exact times and connection details.
RS Community Slack
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 AI/ML-related questions and discussion. 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.
Research Computing Tips
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.
Research Software Directory
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.
If you’re reading this on the web and would like to receive the next newsletter directly to your inbox then please subscribe to our Research Software Community Mailing List.
This issue of the Research Software Community Newsletter was edited by Diego Alonso Álvarez. All previous newsletters are available in our online archive.