Hello and welcome to our December newsletter. This month’s newsletter is a bit special because not only is it the last issue of 2022, but it also marks four full years of newsletters since the first edition in January 2019.
The RSE community at Imperial has grown a lot throughout this past four years and 2022 proved to be another great year for research software. Looking back, we can recall celebrating the 10th anniversary of the RSE movement in March, the return of the RSLondonSouthEast community workshop in July and the return of the in-person RSECon in September. Indeed 2022 brought us a lot be happy about, but the year is not quite over yet and in this issue of the newsletter we bring you the usual set of events, news, blog posts and fun activities to keep you entertained over the coming weeks.
On behalf of the Research Software Community committee I wish you all the best for the holidays and 2023!
Applications for the next round of the Open Source Booster Programme will open on the 3rd of January. The programme is run by Imperial’s RSE Team and consists of free, short-term collaborations to support and enhance the impact and quality of open-source software developed at Imperial.
The RSE team at the University of Manchester and The Software Sustainability Institute are running a 5-day, NERC-funded workshop on intermediate research software skills for Earth, atmospheric and oceanic sciences from 27 to 31 March 2023. Applications are currently being accepted to attend this course, with priority being given to NERC-funded PhD students (although all PhD students and early-career researchers are welcome to apply). Applications close on the 15 January 2023.
If you have a research problem that requires use of GPU computing and need help with it, don’t forget to apply for the UK National Open Hackathon partnered with EPSRC, NVIDIA, and OpenACC.org. The deadline is 16th January 2023, with the hackathon starting on 27th February 2023.
The next session in the Byte-sized RSE series will cover Continuous Integration and take place on Tuesday 17th January 2023 at 13:00 via Zoom. Register here and also take a look at the byte-sized RSE webpage for links to the podcasts from previous sessions.
EPCC at the University of Edinburgh is running an in-person course on Scientific Computing for Environmental Scientists. The course will take place on the 21st and 22nd of February and registration closes on the 26th of January. It is free to attend with some funding available to cover travel and accommodation costs. Register here.
Our Research Software of the Month feature is taking a break for this end-of-year edition of the newsletter but it will be back in 2023 so look out for our next Research Software of the Month in January 2023.
We’re on the look out for research software to feature as Research Software of the Month in 2023. If you are involved with a code that you’d like to see featured, get in touch with us at email@example.com with a quick overview of what the code does, links to a web page/source code and why you think it should be featured as RSotM.
We are currently working on preparing our first Imperial Research Software Engineering Annual Report to be published in Q1 2023. If you are an RSE embedded within a research group or department and would like to have your role and activities highlighted in the report, please contact Jeremy Cohen for more information. We also want to ensure that we can highlight and recognise as many RSE-related activities taking place across the College as possible. If you are doing Research Software Engineering-related work that you’d like to see included in the report, please get in touch.
ARCHER2 (the UK’s National Supercomputing Service) has announced their 9th eCSE call. The eCSE programme provides a great opportunity to obtain funding for research software engineers to work on preparing and optimising your codes to run on the ARCHER2 system. See the eCSE pages for more details on how to apply. There is a 2-stage submission process, the deadline for technical evaluation documents is 16:00, Tuesday 21st February 2023 and final submission is 16:00, Tuesday 14th March 2023.
Registration is now open for the SSI’s Collaborations Workshop 2023 which will take place as a hybrid event from Tuesday 2 May – Thursday 4 May 2023 in Manchester. CW23 will be centered around the theme of Sustainable Career Development for RSEs with events covering topics in technical, career and personal development.
The Research Software Alliance has created a Database of Research Software Funding Opportunities. The database features current and past funding programmes and institutions across the world. There is also an open invitation to add other current funding opportunities to the database via this short form.
The Software Sustainability Institute has announced its 2023 Cohort of Fellows. Congratulations to all of them!
There is still time to participate on this year’s Advent of Code. New coding challenges are released daily until the 25th of December. Even if you haven’t started yet, you can still work your way through earlier challenges. It is a fun way to enhance your coding skills or even learn a new language! Imperial has a private leaderboard which you can join using the code 450750-2e888583 (sign-in required).
On the 8th and 9th November 2022, a group of representatives from research software funders gathered for the Future of Research Software International Funders Workshop. You can read about this event that was co-organised by the Research Software Alliance and Netherlands eScience Center in this blog post.
Check out this blog post by SSI fellow Jesper Sören Dramsch on “Making machine learning more reproducible with scientists at EuroSciPy 2022” - a report on an interesting set of work around reproducibility and machine learning, along with a cautionary tale about why it’s always good to double check your slot on the conference schedule!
New episodes of the Code for Thought podcast were released this month. Tune in to listen from Michael Rera, a biology researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research who is passionate about Open Science.
More videos of presentations from RSECon22 have been added to the Society of Research Software Engineering YouTube playlist.
If the challenges from Advent of Code are not enough for you, take a look at this list of 2022 Advent Calendars for Designers and Developers. There are events from various disciplines like web development and cybersecurity, and the particularly hard challenge 24 Pull Requests which involves making 24 contributions to open source projects.
… and if one of your new year’s resolutions is to learn R then you might want to consider getting a head start with this R Advent CaldendaR from 2019. There is even a YouTube playlist with helpful walkthrough videos for each day of the challenge.
Now that many UK universities have RSE teams a need has emerged for resources to manage these teams. Enter the Research Computing Teams Newsletter. The newsletter is aimed at managers and features resources on relevant topics such as hiring, managing, career paths, funding and sustainability.
Command-line applications have become popular in the private sector over the last few years (although us RSEs have always known them to be cool) and with this increase in popularity new tooling has emerged to give CLI apps a fresh new look. Check out the various open-source tools by Charm which you can use to make your CLI apps more user-friendly and visually appealing.
Check out this useful StackExchange Q&A on how to preserve bash history in multiple terminal windows.
If like me you are struggling to find the festive cheer, then you might find this blog post by the Turing Institute helpful. Data Scientists at Turing asked ChatGPT, an AI chatbot created by US research laboratory OpenAI, to deliver some Christmas jokes.
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! firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This issue of the Research Software Community Newsletter was edited by Yasel Quintero. All previous newsletters are available in our online archive.