Research IT Club October – talks announced


The next Research IT Club will be held on the 25th October and will feature updates from our research infrastructure and software engineering teams.  Our two feature presentations will look at “the role of software engineers in reproducible research” and the introduction of new security controls across the university as part of the Cyber Security Program.

To attend the event please register so we know how much coffee to order in!

The role of software engineers in reproducible research: past present and future

Dr Caroline Jay, School of Computer Science, University of Manchester and David Mawdsley, Research IT, IT Services, University of Manchester

Reproducibility is recognised as a desirable aspect of the scientific method, but working out how to make research truly reproducible remains an open (and challenging) question. Even if data are available and procedures described, re-running a computational analysis is fraught with problems.

In this talk, we describe an approach where the code and analysis are embedded in the paper as an integral part of the document. This lets us trace every result in a paper back to its source data, and makes it easier for us (and others) to extend the research. We illustrate this through a case study describing a collaboration between Computer Science and Research IT, which uses a combination of Makefiles, Docker images and Knitr.

By following this approach we treat the manuscript as another component of the software engineering project. This means that the manuscript itself follows the same software engineering practices, such as version control and assertion testing, as the rest of the project. We discuss the implications of this for the current publication model, and describe the role that software engineers will play in creating the papers of the future.

Cyber Security: VPNs, Strong Authentication, Trusted Devices and Linux

Matt Foster, IT Services, University of Manchester

The University is implementing a number of security controls as part of the Cyber Security Program. What will this mean for me in terms of how I interact with University e-mail, systems and research information?  In this session Matt Foster, Enterprise Architect Security, will explain the University 2FA solution; how it works, where you will have to use it, what your options are and  crucially how it will work with Linux.  We will discuss the imminent changes to access to e-mail, VPN access, SSH access and other areas where you may interact with 2FA.  Bring all your technical concerns and queries to this session so that Matt can answer the questions you have in this space and provide assurance that your needs have been taken into account.

The event will take place in Rm 2.220, University Place from 3 – 4.30pm.  For catering purposes we would be grateful if you could register for this event.

Don’t forget that if you have a query about including Research IT skills and expertise in grant proposals you can come along to our Grant Support Clinics which are held every 6 weeks.

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