May 2013

To embrace diversity, should everyone be treated equally?

Author: Toni Collis
Posted: 17 May 2013 | 14:52

In EPCC, as a mixture of mainly scientists and software developers, we are acutely aware of the gender imbalance in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)  disciplines and of the low level of academic progression for women. EPCC is part of the School of Physics & Astronomy at Edinburgh, and therefore we are involved in the Institute of Physics' Juno Project, for which the School currently holds Juno Practitioner Status. However, as we progress and try to encourage diversity among our staff, we encounter issues with positive discrimination and changing behaviours.

If we value software, we need "a fundamental sea-change" in academia

Author: Simon Hettrick
Posted: 17 May 2013 | 09:26

Combining the skills of a scientific researcher and a software developer, the research software engineer is ideally placed to bring scientific software up to scratch. An ongoing discussion that began at the Collaborations Workshop asks what obstacles need to be removed to clear the way.

Software Carpentry @ Oxford DTC

Author: Mario Antonioletti
Posted: 14 May 2013 | 09:35

Wearing my Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) hat I participated as an instructor in a Software Carpentry bootcamp that took place on the 9th and 10th of May in Oxford. The bootcamp was organised by Jonathan Cooper and targeted at researchers involved in the Oxford Doctoral Training Centre. Shoaib Sufi from the SSI was the other instructor at this event. The three of us taught about 30 attendees from various disciplines studying for DPhils (this being Oxford) as well as some Postdocs, giving them some basic computing skills that we hope will make their research more productive.

Data decomposition reshape library

Author: Stephen Booth
Posted: 10 May 2013 | 10:00

In my previous blog post I said that I was working on a library to move data between different data decompositions.

In many cases it is easier for a programmer to work with a global coordinate system that reflects the overall data in the program. This is the approach taken by many PGAS languages and some parallel libraries such as BLACS.

The programmer still wants to be in control over the data decomposition, but ideally this should be a separated concern than can be changed without forcing a complete rewrite of the rest of the program.

Changing technology – thinking about digital preservation

Author: Alistair Grant
Posted: 7 May 2013 | 13:52

How do we deal with technology change? Ever thought about accessing the stuff you did twenty years ago? What’s that? You are having a hard time getting a floppy disk drive? Maybe the data format is unreadable or the media has been damaged? 8-inch, 5,25-inch, and 3,5-inch floppy disks: Public Domain 7 June 2009: George Chernilevsky

This is a problem that will continue to face us in many fields: how do you ensure that today’s data is still accessible in twenty or even fifty years' time? For a lot of areas, maybe we do not want to bother, it's the here and now that counts.