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RSE team activities up to June 2022

The RSE team in ITS Research has had a busy few years since we started sharing our work in this blog. In this post we look at some highlights of recent activity and what we have to look forward to.

Since we introduced the research software engineering team in 2018 we've continued to work with researchers across the university. We saw Matthew, Sherman Lo, and Iain join. Unfortunately Iain has moved on to work elsewhere since.

Many of you will have had some help from the RSE team through our efforts with the main help system of ITS Research where we directly respond to tickets or provide input indirectly. You may even have used software or tools on Apocrita that the RSE team supports.

On top of the ticket work, we've been providing much more help in depth. For example, we've supported code development for researchers in the School of Mathematical Sciences and the School of English and Drama. More recently, we've prepared some guidance on how to use C++ inside an R project to access the C++ compiler optimization and parallelization powers within a familiar R environment.

Like providing specific advice to researchers on their computational work, we've also proactively generated introductions to advanced computational skills. We have a guide on using OpenMP code to access Apocrita's GPUs and selecting a Python distribution. You can also read a tutorial on submitting jobs to Apocrita, covering a range of compiled and interpreted languages, and how to develop remotely on Apocrita using Visual Studio code.

Python and R are certainly popular choices for researchers at Queen Mary, but C, C++ and Fortran remain widely used. We've shown how to use compilers for these languages to investigate code quality and how with Fortran code there is a very strong debugging compiler. Using Ford one can also easily produce documentation for research software written in Fortran.

The team is also active in Research Software London, and we've been involved in many activities including Software Carpentry workshops. We look forward to seeing many people at the next RSLondon meeting on 4 July.

Not only do we provide help with specific bits of research code and teaching, we currently support a code review club for researchers at the William Harvey Research Institute.

We're currently working to support a number of academic groups, both within and without Queen Mary, and we'll continue to share details of exciting RSE work and prepare advice for readers. We are keeping busy, but if there's anything you'd like us to look at then do get in contact with us.