Dear Researchers, Would you like some free software-consultancy?
One of my favourite parts of my job at The University of Manchester is the code optimisation service that my team provides to researchers there. We take code written in languages such as MATLAB, Python, Mathematica and R and attempt (usually successfully) to make them go faster. It’s sort of a cross between training and consultancy, is a lot of fun and we can help a relatively large number of people in a short time. It also turns out to be very useful to the researchers as some of my recent testimonials demonstrate.
Other researchers,however, need something more. They already have a nice piece of code with several users and a selection of papers. They also have a bucket-load of ideas about how to turn this nice code into something amazing. They have all this good stuff and yet they find that they are struggling to get their code to the next level. What these people need is some quality time with a team of research software engineers.
Enter the Software Sustainability Institute (SSI), an organisation that I have been fortunate enough to have a fellowship with throughout 2013. These guys are software-development ninjas, have extensive experience with working with academic researchers and, right now, they have an open call for projects. It’s free to apply and, if your application is successful, all of their services will be provided for free. If you’d like an idea of the sort of projects they work on, take a look at the extensive list of past projects.
So, if you are a UK-based researcher who has a software problem, and no one else can help, maybe you can hire* the SSI team.