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Code for Thought

Author: RSE

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Welcome to Code for Thought, the podcast on software, engineering, research and anything in between. Find out more about our work, the technologies we use (and why) and meet us at workshops and conferences.
11 Episodes
Whereas the last episode focused on architecture at enterprise scale, this episode is looking at architecture for software solutions. I was fortunate enough to meet with 3 solutions architects from Amazon Web Services in the US: Akash Gheewala, Ro Mullier and John Majarwitz.As we discuss in this episode, the path to become an architect varies: whether it is moving into the role straight away or gradually after years in software engineering. Architecture can be an attractive  choice for engineers who want to develop their career but don't want to leave the technical field. However, as you move into the role of architect you will need to develop more than technical skills, be that business acumen or stakeholder management. Research software engineering is a relatively young discipline. But it is rapidly expanding and I think there is an opportunity for us to learn from our colleagues in the private sector: whether it is for developing career paths or software solutions for complex engineering tasks.
Architecture at large scale, such as in enterprises and organisations with complex infrastructure, puts very different demands on the role than being a software engineer or even solutions architect. For sure, you will need solid technical skills. But the ability to convince and drive solutions become more and more important. In this episode I talk to three ex-colleagues of mine from Elsevier - who have been working as enterprise architects for some time. And we touch on the challenges of the role and how they deal with it.Links you may want to follow up on:- Lean Software Architecture Melvin Conway's paper: "How do committees invent?" Conway's Law:
This is the first part on software architecture. Meet James Smithies from Kings College in London (UK), Steve Crouch from the Software Sustainability Institute/Southampton (UK) and Keith Gutfreund from Elsevier, Boston (USA).Together we explore, what architecture means in software development, both in the private sector and in research; how - and if - architecture fits in with research software engineering.Links:- Digital Lab, King's College London     - Software Sustainability Institute  - Martin Fowler's take on architecture - Is architecture overrated? 
In this episode we continue our journey into the Julia programming language and dive a little deeper into some aspects of Julia. For that reason I met with 2 engineers: Jarvis Frost from Imperial College and Lyndon White from InveniaLabs. Both wrote a lot of Julia code and we discuss some of the projects they have worked on.The projects in question:Jarvis' project example: Polaron Mobility-    Differentiation with Julia -   -'s project: NamedDims -  Named Tensor post (mentioned in episode) by Alexander Rush  Other links you might find interestingComposing code with Julia Multiple Dispatch comparison Julia package Linear Algebra/Julia
In 2009 a group of engineers Jeff Bezanson, Stefan Karpinski, Viral Shah and Alan Edelman set out to develop a new language that is open source, easy to use but also highly performant. They called this language "Julia" and it appeared ca 2012. Since then the community of Julia developers has grown year on year, with some exciting projects happening at e.g. Nasa but also commercial products.In this first part of episodes on Julia I want to get a flavour of the Julia language, what it is used for and how the community of developers is developing. I am talking to Logan Kilpatrick (Community Manager of Julia) and then with Mayeul d'Avazac and Mose Giordano, both practitioners and contributors.  Here are a few links you might be interested in: the main go site for the Julia programming language. If you want to learn Julia, go to the Blog post explaining why Julia there is a great set of videos on Julia on YouTube checkout the repo and see what's currently going on with Julia how does Julia fare in the world of computing. Look at the ranking Julia adoption
The Nordic RSE network held a 3 day workshop in December 2020 and I was delighted to record a panel discussion on the subject of 'Research Software Engineering careers and their position in academia'.Despite the fact that some countries established roles for research software engineers (e.g. the UK, US and France), in many places aspiring RSEs face obstacles and hurdles to turn their passion into a career. Samantha Wittke from Aalto University in Finland chaired the discussion. Interesting links:Declaration of Research Assessment (DORA) https://sfdora.orgNordic RSE organisation https://nordic-rse.orgSome of them universities participants were joining from (Home to Digital Lab, Norway) (University of Helsinki, Finland) (Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden) (Aalto University, Finland) (RSEs at Imperial College, London, UK)
Who is Pierre Bourdieu

Who is Pierre Bourdieu


Talking about sociology in software development is rare. But that is exactly what happened at a meet-up I went to in Paris in 2019. Fabien Lamarque, software craftsman from Bordeaux, gave a presentation on what sociology can teach us in terms of team dynamics and team structure. Specifically, the work of Pierre Bourdieu, a leading French philosopher and sociologist. In this episode we talk about a number of important aspects facing today's software developers: team structure, flat teams and hierarchy and how télétravail - remote working - has impacted all of that during the pandemic. Here is a list of books and links mentioned in this episode: - Fabien's Blog post in English on Pierre Bourdieu and here in French Freeman's position paper on 'The tyranny of structurelessness' and Power: The sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, an introductory book by David SwartzPierre Bourdieu: vie oeuvres concepts (French) Patrice BonnewitzMutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution, by Pëtr KropotkinExtreme Programming Explained, by Kent Beck  
It's publish or perish for researchers and scientists. In addition to that many researchers and scientists from African countries struggle to get their work published and recognised. The team around AfricarXiV work hard to address that.Here are a few links mentioned in this episode you may want to check: The International Association of science, technology and medical publishing the Training Centre in Communication in Africa Peer Review Weekly and annual event for networking of partners in the publishing and peer review sector The Society for Scholarly Publishing Open Access Week
Most of today's research depends on software. So, reproducing science and research results is ever more important. For this episode I have been following a 'ReproHack' event held at the University College of London in late 2020. This event was the first of its kind held at UCL. In particular, since - due to the coronavirus pandemic - it was run entirely online.Listen to find out more about this event and what ReproHacks are from organisers, participants and presenters.ReproHack web page and Twitter account are happening all over the globe. Here a selectionLatin R community ReproHack in Belgium Leiden 2019 (there will be one in 2021 as well)
In this episode I speak with Richard Gunn and Sarah King from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).Recognising the work research software engineers do is one thing. But funding and supporting career paths in it quite another. In the UK,  the EPSRC together with the Science and Technology Facilities Council  (STFC) have provided fellowship programmes to help getting roles and career paths off the ground.Some links:EPSRC https://epsrc.ukri.orgHidden Ref and their work to recognise software contributions in scientific output https://hidden-ref.orgREF (Research Excellence Framework) in the UK
And so it begins...

And so it begins...


Welcome to Code for Thought. The new podcast about software, engineering, research and anything in between.In this episode I want to give you some background of research software engineering (RSE) and a taster for things to come.If you want to find out more about RSEs and what we do look up the following linksthe Software Sustainability Institute the (UK) Society for Research Software Engineering https://society-rse.orgAnd, of course, our other podcast show RSE Stories at where you can meet our colleagues from around the globe.
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