Canadian Research Software Conference

The OICR Bioinformatics team attended the inaugural Canadian Research Software Conference (#CanRSC) on May 29-30, 2018.

Morgan Taschuk spoke at CanRSC

Last week, I attended the inaugural Canadian Research Software Conference hosted by CANARIE. It was invigorating to hear so many research software developers from across Canada and from abroad talk about their challenges and solutions. I spoke with physicists, civil engineers, and ocean scientists. Major themes included streaming data from sensors, the challenges of big data, and interacting with domain experts.

Of course, I live-tweeted the proceedings and the collected tweets are available here: Tweets from the Canadian Research Software Conference

My Highlights

Carolyn McGregor is streaming vital signs from completely different populations, including premature infants, astronauts, and tactical operators, and doing real-time analysis on them to predict and react to rapidly changing conditions.

Steve Liang talked about the internet of things, collecting as much ‘dark data’ from the environment as possible. He and his company SensorUp are democratizing and empowering people to install air quality sensors across Canada and the world and providing the data back in a usable way.

Veronika Koltunova presented PhenoTips, a tool for collecting patient information from clinicians. It was developed to ensure consistency of clinical information by following a clinician’s workflow.

Alys Brett presented on behalf of the UK Research Software Engineers to promote and advocate ‘research software engineer/developer’ as a career path distinct from either researcher or software developer.

Darren Boss showed the work that Compute Canada have done with authentication on Kubernetes, something that our group is very interested in exploring.

My talk

I also spoke on Using research software in a production environment. The exponential increase in data has caused an analysis bottleneck: the effort needed to manage the data and develop complex analysis pipelines is greater than the collection itself. I discuss some of the major techniques we used in order to turn our research pipelines into a production system able to analyze diverse datasets with minimal failures. I highlight the importance of valid metadata, the adaptation of research software, and surrounding infrastructure including workflow systems.

My slides are available on Slideshare.

About the author

Morgan Taschuk is Senior Manager for the Bioinformatics team and can often be found on Twitter @morgantaschuk.

Interested in Collaborating?

We are eager to collaborate with reserachers who are interested in NGS and analysis services.