The Role of Software in the UK Research Computing Ecosystem
www.software.ac.uk The role of software in the UKResearch Computing Ecosystem 8 July 2011 Neil Chue Hong, Director, SSI N.ChueHong@software.ac.uk Software Sustainability Institute
UK Research Computing Ecosystem www.software.ac.uk PeopleComputing Software Communities Data Centres … Network/Collaboration Instruments Software Sustainability Institute
Observations www.software.ac.uk• Software now has a longer lifetime of effectiveness than hardware And people’s knowledge is even longer• The right software makes the hardware exploitable by more researchers Allows computing to be treated as a commodity asset• Demanding users of computational infrastructure are coming from arts + humanities / social science Software frameworks must support all types of app• A culture of reuse rather than reinvention is not widespread Originality is good but must be balanced by consolidation• The best research is trans-national: our infrastructure must support this Software Sustainability Institute
A More Manageable Ecosystem www.software.ac.uk• Discourage duplicative software development in research grants by encouraging reuse and long-term development Need to change perceptions so that software is seen as valuable (and not just invaluable when it disappears)• Some specialist support should be provided and funded separately Maintenance vs. research vs. development• We cannot assume that the way people interact with the ecosystem will conform to expectations Training early in career should be on exploiting, not conforming• Well supported open platforms are the key in the age of the research mashup Create a larger proportion of enabled researchers and provide the ramps to go from desktop to high-end infrastructure Software Sustainability Institute
Road ahead www.software.ac.uk• Long term funding, but not necessarily longer term milestones Projects and groups must have a roadmap to build against and we must retain competition and excellence without losing skills• Encourage software to be more collaborative and recognise the need to support its users for the long-term Too much falling by the wayside for lack of decent ongoing support: opportunity for new orgs to enter community?• Specific funding for developing and maintaining infrastructure Particularly innovative software development which aims for further along the infrastructure roadmap• Recognise the distinction between encouraging the “emergent” communities and translating successes into the “mainstream” of research: requirements are not the same Software Sustainability Institute
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