In 3 weeks from now we’ll have a massive global hack for science. Many scientists probably think software is something that other people do. “I’m not a programmer” is a frequent cry. But things are changing. Programming is increasingly about finding out what the problem is, and finding tools and people who can help solve it. If you can run a chromatograph, or a mass spectrometer or a PCR machine you can use and build programs.
The main thing is your frame of mind. If you can organize and run an experiment , you can organize data. If you can organize data you are effectively doing computing. I had the great opportunity to go to a Software Carpentry course last year and it changed my life. It showed me that I needed to understand how I think and how I work and that the rest comes relatively naturally. And it showed the value of friends.
You want a program to do X? Thinking of writing it? Chances are that much of it exists already. Much of what programs do is universal – sorting, matching, transforming, searching. And we have great toolkits – R, Python, Apache, and visualisation D3, etc. So much of the solution is knowling what, and who, is out there.
So I’m off to Mozilla, in the heart of London. I went there for the first time a month ago – a great place that is human-friendly. Here’s the blurb – join us!
(Also posted on the Software Carpentry blog.)
We’ll be holding our first-ever global sprint on July 22-23, 2014. This event will be modeled on Random Hacks of Kindness: people will work with friends and colleagues at sites around the globe, then hand off to participants west of them as their days end and others’ begin. We will set up video conferencing between the various locations and a show-and-tell at the end (and yes, there will be stickers and t-shirts).
We have booked space for the sprint at the Mozilla offices in Paris, London, Toronto, Vancouver, and San Francisco. If you aren’t in one of those cities, but are willing to help organize in your area, please add yourself to this Etherpad. We’ll hash out the what and how at the next Software Carpentry lab meeting—it’s a community event, so we’d like the community to choose what to sprint on—but please get the date in your calendar: it just wouldn’t be a party without you.