Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Castles, case studies and lightning

Last week I attended the Software Sustainability Institutes Collaboration Workshop in Edinburgh. As with previous meetings this event was very enjoyable with a great deal of discussion, actions and collaboration taking part.

The organisers had revamped the programme for this year’s event and one of the changes was the inclusion of “lightning talks”. The set up was interesting with each presenter having 5 minutes and one slide which shared the screen with a rather large countdown clock. It certainly kept the presenters on their toes and the attention of the audience! Unfortunately given the nature of the presentations you really had to be there to appreciate the talks but some presenters did manage to get a lot of info on their slides. In particular the slides from Taverna, STFC, software preservation, soundsoftware.ac.uk, e-science central, SPRINT, Hartree Institute and Youshare.ac.uk are worth a look. I have linked to the websites for each project where they exist but for the slides, visit the materials section.

After the a lovely lunch it was time to start what I think is the most enjoyable part of the workshops – the breakout sessions. Before the event, delegates have the opportunity to submit topics that they would like to discuss at the breakout sessions and then at the event people vote on what topics they would like to discuss. The delegates break into groups and disappear off to various parts of the building to discuss the topic. Each group has a chair, a scribe and someone who “volunteers” to report back but quite often people take on two of these roles.

I attended the session on preparing case studies to support cases for funding which was rather apt as I prepare the NGS user case studies. There were about 7 of us from a variety of backgrounds including funding council reps and the discussion covered areas such as different types of case studies, ways that case studies could contribute to REF, how to format case studies and much more. It was a very interesting hour and we did come up with several suggestions for further work for the SSI.

The second breakout session of the day took place after some caffeine had been consumed and this time I attended the session on “measuring the research impact of software”. Unfortunately the notes from this aren’t up on the SSI website yet but when they are I will make sure I update the link!

So that was day 1 at the CW11. I’m sure you don’t want to hear about the conference dinner so I’ll leave that out and write up day 2 very soon!

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