Introduction to the Software Sustainability Institute


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Introduction to the Software Sustainability Institute and a record of the discussion held at the JISC RI Software Sustainability Workshop on the 12th May 2010.

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  • Consistent with the chasm model, recommends
  • Nevertheless static preservation is still necessary for reproducibility Many journals say code must be available but will it still run? E.g. Journal of Systems Chemistry e.g. Computer Physics Communications (ed. Stan Scott), where code is submitted with papers Some people looking at running things in VMs Domesday project 1986 – by 2002 it was dificult to keep drives working But isn’t sustainability
  • Introduction to the Software Sustainability Institute

    1. 1. Introducing the Software Sustainability Institute
    2. 2. What is the SSI? <ul><li>A national facility for research software users and developers (from PC to HPC) of all disciplines </li></ul><ul><li>Providing effort, support and guidance to ensure that researchers can continue to use their chosen software as a cornerstone of their research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A nd beyond the lifetime of its original funding cycle </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. RCUK Review of e-Science Next 5 Years From Research to Sustainability <ul><li>Maintain critical-size centers already established </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Partnership with academic institutions already committed to e-Science </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dramatically expand (x10 or more) involvement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Both researchers and users (industry, society) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provide mid-term career paths for current e-science personnel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use existing mechanisms like 5-year UKRC fellowships </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Build stronger ties/bridges to the HPC community (e-Science should include simulation, modelling, prediction, and data mining activities.) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Durham cosmology simulations, Oxford effort </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Develop increasingly shared infrastructure that is reliable, mature and sustainable </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Software is a sustainable facility, and the capital investment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hardware is becoming the consumable </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. ENGAGE interviews Sustainability is not an issue for CS researchers, we want others to take the software over subject to IP issues Sustainability is a big issue, we are producing complex tools we want to use but it’s not clear how they’ll be sustained
    5. 5. Reproducible Research
    6. 6. Background Consultation <ul><li>EPSRC consultation to identify facilities and services required to conduct high quality research </li></ul><ul><li>Highlighted the management, curation and development of robust software as being a key area to support </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Software Sustainability’ Call invited proposals to provide a research infrastructure which will aid the long term sustainability of software which enables high quality research in any research field, not just EPSRC’s remit. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Community outreach and promotion to ensure effective uptake of the services that the infrastructure will provide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement with the international community: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>dissemination of e-research  software </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>establishing best practice and standards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>providing internationally recognised codes  </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. What the SSI will do <ul><li>Work with research groups within the UK to improve key research software </li></ul><ul><ul><li>online materials (tutorials, guides, assessment wizards) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>consultative advice ( software evaluation , development process, community engagement, dissemination) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>collaborative partnerships (usability, quality, maintainability) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>bidding for larger joint projects </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Engagement with international community </li></ul>
    8. 8. SSI Levels of Service <ul><li>Free to everyone e.g. guides, case studies </li></ul><ul><li>Free after registration e.g. assessment wizards, tutorials </li></ul><ul><li>Free after assessment e.g. free consultancy, collaborative projects </li></ul><ul><li>Paid for e.g. further consultancy, joint funded projects </li></ul>
    9. 9. What the SSI brings <ul><li>Provides specialist skills to drive the continued improvement and impact of research software </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drawn from a large and varied pool of expertise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PALs programme funds researcher champions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Led by University of Edinburgh with Universities of Manchester and Southampton </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Director: Neil Chue Hong </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funded by EPSRC for 5 years, 9.5 FTE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Builds on existing collaborations and experience from OMII-UK and EPCC </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. SSI In Principle <ul><li>Keep the software in its respective community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Work with the people who understand the software best to improve maintenance, quality, usability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase the efficiency, ability and productivity of the existing users and developers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify and suggest opportunities to exploit or expand capacity and capability </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Create sustainable software to deliver new high quality research </li></ul>
    11. 11. Purpose of today <ul><li>Trial some of the potential services that the SSI will be offering </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get feedback from you on priorities and level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will be running future workshops for projects at proposal and mid-term stages </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In return, get chance to talk through sustainability options for your software </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advance opportunity to use SSI services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Day is deliberately quite flexible </li></ul>
    12. 12. Agenda <ul><li>9.30 Arrival </li></ul><ul><li>10.00 Introductions </li></ul><ul><li>10.15 Introduction to the SSI </li></ul><ul><li>10.30 Parallel Topic Session 1 </li></ul><ul><li>11.30 Parallel Topic Session 2 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Planning Software Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Code repositories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bug and Issue Tracking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Governance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing support for a wider community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easing transition between code maintainers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project communication </li></ul></ul><ul><li>12.30 Lunch </li></ul><ul><li>13.30 Feedback from morning sessions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What topics are most useful, what topics are missing? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>14.00 One-to-one sustainability planning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Talking about you software, deciding on next steps </li></ul></ul><ul><li>15.30 Feedback from one-to-one sessions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Common themes, common issues </li></ul></ul><ul><li>16.00 Close </li></ul>
    13. 13. Agenda <ul><li>9.30 Arrival </li></ul><ul><li>10.00 Introductions </li></ul><ul><li>10.15 Introduction to the SSI </li></ul><ul><li>10.30 Parallel Topic Session 1 </li></ul><ul><li>11.30 Parallel Topic Session 2 </li></ul><ul><li>12.30 Lunch </li></ul><ul><li>13.30 Feedback from morning sessions </li></ul><ul><li>14.00 One-to-one sustainability planning </li></ul><ul><li>15.30 Feedback from one-to-one sessions </li></ul><ul><li>16.00 Close </li></ul>
    14. 14. Sustainability Barriers <ul><li>The following barriers were identified during the workshop discussion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding (overcoming hiatus in funding) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of developer contributions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time available from individuals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trust in institutional infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Number of users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Too many and too few! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Utility in wider world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>External users / maintaining services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Changes in software environment / dependencies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Obsolescence due to pace of change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Size of project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fluctuation in team membership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(repositories / documentation) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>These were acknowledged but felt to be well addressed </li></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Topic Areas <ul><li>Four topic areas were identified for the next discussion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting more contributions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why is software sustainability for you / your users / your funders? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintaining a service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promotion and increasing uptake </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Each group was asked to consider the following questions: What things… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you want more help to do yourself? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you want someone else to do? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you think are under-represented / misunderstood? </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. What things <ul><li>Do you want more help to do yourself? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploitation via media / social media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Write up as a guide </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advice on copywriting / hitting target market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Point to existing courses and webpages </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you want someone else to do? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Farm out all parts of ERA project to allow others to do it all with minimum amounts of help </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you think are under-represented / misunderstood? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reticence of using social media for publicity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alpha Galileo – do people know about this service, is it available from your press office? </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. What things <ul><li>Do you want more help to do yourself? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Preservation of capabilities within group that produced the software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get more time from the right people and money to pay them </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you want someone else to do? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you think are under-represented / misunderstood? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conflict between different stakeholders interests and gaining agreement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should the users take priority? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding success criteria – how to measure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Checklist to help define success metrics </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People with different skills will be important at different points in your project </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. What things <ul><li>Do you want more help to do yourself? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Help adopting appropriate cloud/grid infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Subjective – do as necesazary in one-to-ones </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help understanding which is the appropriate choice for your project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give a degree of flexibility in project plan when providing services coming out of JISC projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No cost extensions etc </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding for gray areas i.e. bridging gaps in time to sustain a service to next funding opportunity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you want someone else to do? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Catalogue of available services that can assist developers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Catalogue of software that’s being used in other JISC projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Who else is using a piece of software within your domain? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enable better inter-project discussion </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focussed events for RI projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Project surgeries to talk together and discuss ways they can work together / common problems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dissemination and marketing your services </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Service for disseminating and marketing your service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Service to analyse feasibility of a service proposal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SSI would do this – how to make people aware of this service from SSI </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Body of expertise to provide guidance or expertise (Dragon’s Den?) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you think are under-represented / misunderstood? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexible time on projects for providing services that are based on unexpected “extras” whilst carrying out project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personnel leaving with valuable technical skills – better recognition as a problem </li></ul></ul>
    19. 19. What things <ul><li>Do you want more help to do yourself? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How to excite developers to get interested in contributing to your code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get funding for application specific projects to advance core software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Info on using GSoC / MSc projects to improve your project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SSI to make available advice on website and also add to slide deck, particularly to introduce people to it </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote product outside your immediate community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leap from being asked by a 3 rd party to host for them to getting them to deploy and host themselves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide advice on how to recruit “champions” who’ll prmote software on your behalf </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>We can do this ourselves, e.g. using collaborating projects as champions – produce a guide / checklist for exploiting your contacts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you want someone else to do? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide a fun website explaining why contribution licenses are important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(creative commons did a set of cartoons) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Simon to create cartoon – who else has an interest in this, pool resources? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have a champion with time and enthusiasm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you think are under-represented / misunderstood? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why would people not contribute when they are active developers of your software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What does it mean to be a contributor: rights and responsibilities </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. Surgery Timetable <ul><li>One-to-one sustainability planning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Talking about your software, deciding on next steps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Simon: communication + dissemination </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mark, Santy, Marcus, Joss </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mike: contributions + support </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Santy, Trevor+John, Joss </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rob: success criteria + project planning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stephen, John C, Mark </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Neil: exploitation + further funding </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>John C, Stephen, Trevor+John </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Steve: future directions for software + infrastructure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Marcus </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    21. 21. Other topics <ul><li>Discussing how to take forward some of the key missing things </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Publicity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Surgeries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Catalogues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feasibility Analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Champions </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. Future improvements to workshop structure <ul><li>Case Studies and Success Stories </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Project to service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Migration from open source at one site to many international contributors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>5 minute lightning talks from each project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What have they done </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What they’re think of doing (particularly with respect to sustainability) </li></ul></ul>