The small, nascent research software engineering (RSE) group within the Oak Ridge National Laboratory tends to plays a “supporting role” withto the Laboratory’s scientific software initiative, group lead Jay Jay Billings says.
“The group was started after the identification of a large number of RSEs across the Laboratory, and a pressing need for more advanced software engineers to drive success on projects.” With just four members of staff at the moment, the group is currently working on 14 projects, leading on around half of those and supporting in the others.
The group also has a strong focus on internal training, Billings says. “That’s one of our largest growth areas, going to work with groups and teaching them: if people want to use our supercomputers and don’t have a lot of experience, we should teach them how to do it.”
The group has developed training modules on areas including languages, processes, libraries and tooling, all stored on github and presented at regular training events that attract large numbers of colleagues. “We’re really building the community rather than an individual organisation,” says Billings.
The team is now growing, and is looking to hire a further five RSEs, if Billings can find the right candidates.