Frank Löffler, April 25, 2023

Since 2019, there should have been at least one major de-RSE meeting every year. However, due to the pandemic, four years passed before the community could meet in person again this year.

At the end of February, around 150 RSEs came together in Paderborn, appropriately enough at the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum, for the deRSE23 conference. The range of topics was naturally very broad: from software and community management, software licences, to automation and artificial intelligence in music. Those who didn’t get enough from that could also attend the subsequent software engineering conference SE-23, with which the de-RSE23 organisation collaborated.

The conference opened on the first day with a keynote address on “Engineering Software Ergonomics” by Reinhard Keil, in which the participants were introduced to non-technical, but also important properties of software and its development. In three parallel sessions, projects and communities were presented and future plans and visions were discussed until the poster session in the evening. During the well-attended poster and demo session, the Young RSE Award was presented, which this time went to Yudong Sun, but was also intended to highlight the work of all young participants. The day ended with the conference dinner, which ended at 10 pm yet did not mean an end to the discussions. Some of the participants arrived back at the hotel after midnight and still made it back at 9 a.m. the next day in order not to miss the second keynote.

This time, the RSEs were introduced to the advantages of the AWS Cloud and especially its Development Kit, before topics such as Cloud Technologies, but also Software Management Plans and Musicology continued in parallel sessions into the afternoon. Officially, this was the end of de-RSE23 in the early evening.

More than half of the participants, and thus far more than expected, took up the offer of a third day, on which the programme consisted less of lectures and more of workshops. Here, RSE-related communities such as the Software Carpentries and the Alliance Initiative met. Work was done on a text about setting up RSE groups at research institutions in Germany. Topics such as training and documentation in the RSE environment were also on the agenda. For many, it was then time to head home late on Wednesday afternoon, after three exciting, interesting, communication-rich but also long and exhausting days.

However, as so often, the three days were not nearly enough to discuss everything or work on all the topics of interest in the RSE environment, so there will be another opportunity to do so in 2023, and this time with even more opportunity to exchange ideas and work together on concrete projects. For this very purpose, RSEs will come together for a second time this year from 26 to 29 September, this time for the un-deRSE23 Unconference at the Dornburg Castles near Jena. In contrast to the de-RSE23, the focus here will be on workshops and discussion panels, the topics of which will be determined by the participants themselves: partly before, partly just at the event. The number of participants is limited due to the size of the castle, so if you want to be there, you should submit as soon as possible.

deRSE23 in numbers: