Jonathan Dursi

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To Compete, Your Team Needs a Specialty

And ‘HPC’ or ‘Research Software Development’ isn’t a specialty (Note: This post is adapted from #90 of the Research Computing Teams Newsletter) Quick: what’s your team’s specialty? Your team’s specialty is its reputation for what it’s good at. Not what you think your team is good at; what matters is what specific thing your stakeholders (funders, clients, institutional decision makers) think your specialty is. What they recommend you for to peers, what they recommend funding you for to decision makers. In the post-pandemic world, researchers...

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Research Computing Funding Should Mostly Just Go To Researchers

Research computing and data — supporting research efforts with software, computer and data expertise and resources — is fundamentally all of a piece. Today there’s fewer and fewer hard boundaries between where the system requirements end and where the software or data resource requirements begin; and teams supporting researchers must have expertise across the stack. This convergence is a huge opportunity for research computing, but it’s also a challenge for funders. How to know how much to allocate to software, and how much to hardware?...

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Nobody Else Cares About Your Tech Stack

Focus on your researchers’ and funders’ problems, not your technical solutio (Note: This post is adapted from #75 of the Research Computing Teams Newsletter) Many of us who are managing research computing and data teams come up through the ranks doing research ourselves, and have experience in grantwriting for open research calls. That can actually hold us back from succeeding with getting grants for “digital research infrastructure” — building teams and infrastructure to support research. The thing is, digital research infrastructure calls, the sort that...

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Buckle up, CPUs are going to get weirder

The M1 is a good test run, let’s get ready (Note: This post is adapted from last week’s issue 51 of the resarch computing teams newsletter) The big news of the past month has been Apple’s new M1 CPU. The M1’s specs in and of themselves kind of interesting, but more important to us in research computing is that the M1 is an example of how CPUs are going to get more different as time goes on, and that will have impacts on our teams....

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What will Post-Pandemic Academic Research Computing Look Like?

We’re nowhere near the endgame yet. But even now in the middle of the COVID-19 times it is not too soon to think about what research computing will look like when the threat of infection by SARS-CoV-2 no longer shapes our work lives. While the future looks good for research computing team individual contributors who are willing to learn on the fly, the coming years will be treacherous for teams as organizations, and their managers. What hath 2020 wrought There’s a few pretty unambiguous “inputs”...

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Things I Learned from Looking at 500 Research Computing Manager Jobs over 10 Months

I write a weekly newsletter for research computing managers, team leads, or those aspiring to those roles. One of the things I’ve wanted to emphasize in the newsletter is that managing research computing teams is a profession in and of itself, and worth doing well. Part of that is emphasizing the existence of career opportunities. So since the beginning I’ve included job listings and maintained a job board, posting about 500 such jobs over the past 10 months and removing them as they become filled...

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