Jan Ploski – Services for research groups

Modern research increasingly relies on the use of specialized information systems that besides of actual scientific computational models also contain components for distributed data processing, visualization, and process automation. In development of such systems, scientists should become first-rate clients rather than DIY workers. Professional technical assistance is needed.

In order to produce competitive research results on the international level, it is no longer sufficient today to have outstanding knowledge of your own research subject and a solid research method. Rather, the quality of research and its published output depend significantly on a smooth interplay with information technology and an appropriate division of labor among researchers and technical staff. Given that successful research groups do not just utilize their expert knowledge in academia, but also transform it into sought after commercial services and products, system failures or software defects can also have a negative impact on the public image and hinder the acquisition of funding and cooperation projects with the industry.

A common problem is that the challenges of software development become a burden for scientists and distract them from their actual research work. The assistants and administrators available to a research group might only be responsible for providing the basic services and not understand the special features of scientific applications and tools or their development. As it happens, scientists are forced to become programmers, without a prior opportunity to become proficient with processes and tools involved in commercial-grade software development. The resulting deficiencies in software quality cause a vicious cycle of further increasing the overload with technical tasks related to removing defects, which negatively impacts scientific productivity.

To deal with these issues, leaders of research groups can generally choose between two approaches:

  • Improving qualification of own colleagues through appropriate trainings and ongoing assistance by computer scientists
  • Relieving the researchers by delegating development tasks altogether to computer scientists

In both cases it is important that the involved computer scientists understand the most important used software applications and research methods and correctly assess the own technical skills of the supported researchers. Thanks to my participation in projects in the research area of energy meteorology I feel confident that I meet the criteria outlined above. I would like to offer you my services during the development of scientific software, system administration and consulting and training related to software engineering tools and processes.