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Software, Training and Users Panel: the Software Sustainability Institute's View


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Software, Training and Users Panel: the Software Sustainability Institute's View

  1. 1. “Doing Science in theDigital Age”UK e-Infrastructure Academic User Community Forum12 September 2012, Digital Research 2012, OxfordNeil Chue Hong (@npch) Software Sustainability Institute
  2. 2. The Software Sustainability Institute national facility for cultivating world-class research through software• Better software enables better research• Software reaches boundaries in its development cycle that prevent improvement, growth and adoption• Providing the expertise and services needed to negotiate to the next stage• Developing the policy and tools to support the community developing and using research software Supported by EPSRC Software Sustainability Institute Grant EP/H043160/1
  3. 3. UK Research Computing Ecosystem PeopleComputing Software Communities Data Centres … Network/Collaboration Instruments Software Sustainability Institute
  4. 4. Observation 1:Software is acrossresearchCorollary: software is bleeding edge and long-tailDemanding users are coming from arts + humanities,economics, and social science as well as sciences Software Sustainability Institute
  5. 5. Observation 2:A culture of re-use than re-invention is notwidespreadCorollary: we have wasted effort and increased siloing Software Sustainability Institute
  6. 6. Observation 3: people are“embarrassed”about softwareCorollary: something is broken in the way we regard,recognise and reward software Software Sustainability Institute
  7. 7. The Foundations of Digital Research Re- Re-usable search Re-producible Software Careers Software Recognition / RewardSoftware Skills and Capability Software Sustainability Institute
  8. 8. Gap 1: Software Skills Training Research Software Summer Focussed Schools Carpentry (methods) Who fills this gap? HPC Short Courses MSc in HPC / scientific computing Advanced HPC TrainingProgramming Focussed Programming Programming (Tools) 101 201 Basic Advanced Software Sustainability Institute
  9. 9. Software philosophy as part of the process• Foundations of scientific computing in undergraduate courses  Like presentation skills• Methods of scientific computing in postgraduate courses  Like statistics and ethics• Show the benefits from the knowledge and methods of digital research  Not just programming 101 Software Sustainability Institute
  10. 10. Gap 2: Lack of support infrastructure• For example: no digital repository which satisfies the criteria:  Open to anyone in the UK to archive software  Software associated with an OSI license  Provide a unique, permanent identifier  Publishes a preservation/curation/sustainability plan• This is just deposit, not even preservation or sustainability Software Sustainability Institute
  11. 11. Gap 3: Lack of recognition and reward• Is there an anachronism in the way we conduct and recognise research?  REF references software as an output but it is still not easy to get recognition• Software careers  Researchers who use software  Researcher-Developers  Research Software Engineers  Research Software Support  Research Systems Providers Software Sustainability Institute
  12. 12. Gap 4: Software Maturity and Management Not all software should make it to the next stageSoftware proliferation Management changes through time, requiring planning Innovation Consolidation Customisation Time Software Sustainability Institute
  13. 13. A More Manageable Ecosystem• Discourage duplicative software development in research grants by rewarding reuse and long-term development  Need to change perceptions so that software is seen as valuable  But understand when it should not proceed to next stage• Different stages should be managed and funded separately  Maintenance vs. research vs. development• A skilled researcher base is the key in the digital age  Create a larger proportion of enabled researchers and provide the ramps to go from desktop to high-end infrastructure  Allow and encourage specialism and collaboration Software Sustainability Institute