RAPIDS 2018 Talk - Dr Laura Fortunato - Effective computing for research reproducibility

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RAPIDS 2018 Talk - Effective computing for research reproducibility

Full RAPIDS 2018 schedule and tickets available here

Effective computing for research reproducibility - Dr Laura Fortunato

Dr. Laura Fortunato. Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford


Research results can only be trusted if they can be re-derived, by the original researchers and/or by others working independently. Ultimately, the reproducibility crisis is a crisis of trust — trust in the results, trust in the researchers, and trust in the research process.

By way of background, I will discuss the recent rise in awareness of these issues among both researchers and the public, alongside concerns that the “crisis narrative” may be exploited to undermine the value of scientific contributions. I will then discuss how “reproducibility” has many meanings and interpretations, with different aspects emphasized across disciplines.

Next, I will argue that part of the solution — and a relatively low-hanging fruit — is a change in the approach to computing in research. I will illustrate some of the revisions to their workflow that researchers across disciplines can implement relatively easily, as a first step towards this change. Finally, I will review my experience in building a community of practice around reproducibility at the University of Oxford — from my research group all the way up to the institutional level.


Laura’s research aims to understand the evolution of human social and cultural behaviour, working at the interface of anthropology and biology. Three areas of ongoing research are the evolution of kinship and marriage systems, cultural evolution, and the evolution of cooperation and social complexity. Since joining Oxford in 2013, she has incorporated training in effective computing for reproducibility into graduate teaching and supervision. She leads the Reproducible Research Oxford project, which she set up in 2016 with the aim to extend such training to students, researchers, and staff across the University.

Laura studied Biological Sciences at the University of Padova (Laurea, 2003) and Anthropology at University College London (MRes, 2004; PhD, 2009). Between 2010 and 2013 she held an Omidyar Fellowship at the Santa Fe Institute, where she is currently an External Professor. Since 2013 she has been based at the University of Oxford, as Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Tutorial Fellow in Evolutionary Anthropology at Magdalen College, Oxford.

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# Install the dotmesh client
sudo curl -sSL -o /usr/local/bin/dm \$(uname -s)/dm

# Make the client binary executable
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/dm

# Use the client to install dotmesh-server
dm cluster init