For researchers and research groups

You program or analyze data in your daily work, and you know something is missing: your code and data is less organized, less efficient, less managed than others, and it’s affecting the quality of your work. Or maybe you don’t know how to start your project, or publish it. You’re too busy with the science to have time to focus on the computing.

To request a service, contact Aalto Scientific Computing or answer our survey and request to be contacted this form.

Case study: preparation for publication

A group is about to publish a paper about a method, but their code is a bit messy. Without easy-to-use, (relatively) high-quality code, they know their impact will be minimal. They invest in a few days of RSE work in order to help adopt best practices and release their method as open source.

Case study: external grant

A PI has gotten a large external grant, and as part of that they need some software development expertise. The time frame is four months, but they can’t hire a top-quality person on an academic salary for that short time. They contact the Aalto RSE group (either before the grant, or while it is running) and use our speciality for four days per week.

Case study: improve workflow

A group of researchers all works on similar things, but independently since their backgrounds have been in science, not software development. They invite the RSE for a quick consultation to help them get set up with version control and show a more modular way to structure their code, so they can start some real collaborations, not just talking. This is the first step to more impact (and open science) from their work.

Case study: sustainability of finished projects

A project has ended and the main person who managed the code/analysis pipeline has left to continue their career somewhere else. You wish to replicate and extend the previous work, but your only starting point is a folder with hundreds of files and no clear instructions/documentation. Aalto RSEs can help you re-using and recycling previous code, document it, and extend it to make it more sustainable to be reused in future projects.

What we do

Our RSEs may provide both mentorship and programming-as-a-service for your projects. Are you tired of research being held back by slow programming? We can help.

You can request our help for a few hours, to consult and co-work on a project. Our goal will be to primarily teaching and mentoring, to help you help yourselves in the long run. We’ll point you in the right direction and where to look next.

You can also request longer-term programming as a service. This can be producing or modifying some software for you, or whatever you may need. This is expected to be paid from your grants. (Need someone for a few months for your grant? We can do that.)

Note

Master’s and Bachelor’s students

The RSE service is intended for researchers, but students can be researchers if they are involved in a research project. To get started on anythin longer than a short consultation, we would need to meet with your supervisor.

Short-term examples

Format could be personal work, lecture, or group seminar followed by a hands-on session, for example.

  • Setting up a project in version control with all the features. This also includes version control of data.

  • Preparing code or data for release and publication

  • FAIR data (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) - consultation and help.

  • Creating or automating a workflow, especially those processing data or running simulations

  • Optimizing some code - both for speed and/or adaptability

  • Efficiency storing data for intensive analysis. Data replication and management.

  • Making existing software more modular and reusable

  • Help properly using, for example, machine learning library pipelines, instead of hacking things together yourself

  • Setting up automatic software testing

  • Transforming projects from individual to collaborative - either within a group, or open source.

  • Generalized “code clean-up” which takes a project from development to stabilized

More involved examples

These would combine co-working, mentoring, and independent work. We go to you and work with you.

  • Developing or maintaining specific software, services, demos, or implementations.

  • Software development as a service

  • Software support that lasts beyond the time frame of a single student’s attention

  • Adding features to existing software

  • Contributing to some other open source software you need for your research

Free basic service

In order to help everyone and avoid microtransactions, departments/schools/etc can sponsor a basic service, which provides a few hours or days of close support to improve how you work (especially for the “basic examples” above.

One of our trained RSEs will work with you for a short period to begin or improve your project. The goal is not to do it for you, but to show you by example so that you can do it yourself later.

How to contact us and request help

To request a service, see the request area.

Requests are prioritized according to:

  • Strategic benefit

  • Long-term impact to research (for example, improved skills)

  • Priority for units which provide funding

  • Diversity and balance