Dawn Developer Workshop, June 2014

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Staring down the barrel of the beamline – good thing it was off that day

This year, the 2-day DAWN developer workshop had an added dimension as the first day was an Eclipse Science day. It was well-timed and coincided with the formal creation of the Eclipse science working group which is growing a community around Eclipse and scientific software development.  Diamond Light Source played host and the day included a fascinating tour of the guts of the synchrotron (once we made sure it really was turned off). I won’t be able to do it justice with words but here’s some great information on how it works and I’d highly recommend a visit to see it for yourself.

In the spirit of fostering collaboration, the science day featured sessions focussed around idea and technology exchange. This included demos of science tools all underpinned by the Eclipse framework:

  • Openchrom – software for chromatography and mass spectrometry. We also got to hear about its migration to Eclipse 4 and what was involved.
  • Bioclipse – software for molecular biology. Lots of nice features and insight into some of its inner working and use of third-party libraries like jmol.
  • Marintek develop software to simulate floating systems (great waves demo) and a tool that makes good use of Eclipse modelling technology including Graphiti.

We also compared notes on everything from build technology to 3D visualisation so a great opportunity for some cross-pollination and sharing, of course carried on after-hours over lots of curry and socialising. Besides attendees representing the tools above, we also had Eclipse Foundation and many familiar faces from Diamond and other European synchrotron facilities. Other new attendees included ISIS who are in early stages of their Eclipse journey and the SSI who gave a fresh perspective on what it takes to make software sustainable.

Details of new features in DAWN itself were detailed on the second day. The highlight was the powder diffraction calibration tool.  Kichwa Coders also delivered updates on the areas of DAWN we have been working on: the function fitting tool and Python integration in DAWN. The python integration (AnalysisRPC) in particular had a lot of interest with its ability to cross-the divide between java and python and allow the best of both worlds in one environment.

With DAWN poised to become part of the Eclipse ecosystem, it will soon be easily available to a wider audience and we look forward to upcoming workshops. At least we won’t have as long to wait for the next Eclipse science working group meeting, which takes place at the unconference part of Eclipsecon France, see you there?

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