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Alabama Water Institute

UA Research Enhanced by New Research Software Engineer

To address the growing necessity for high-quality software in research, The University of Alabama recently hired Dr. Karnesh Jain as UA’s first research software engineer.

A research software engineer, or RSE, can develop software related to domain-specific research, such as science, engineering, digital humanities, computational simulations, artificial intelligence and machine learning. They can work with a number of faculty members, graduate students and postdocs where software is crucial for the development, execution or analysis of research.

“Having a research software engineer here at UA is critical to the future success of research projects across campus,” said Dr. Jeffrey Carver, chair of UA’s Cyber Initiative and professor in the Department of Computer Science. “With the need for software and computation increasing in domains across the University, Dr. Jain’s work will be instrumental to advancing UA’s research enterprise.”

The Alabama Water Institute is currently working with Jain to address needs for water modeling, machine learning and data analytics. AWI-affiliated faculty member Dr. Kasra Momeni, associate professor of mechanical engineering, is also working with the Cyber Initiative to develop a deep learning model for image classification of 2D materials. UA’s School of Social Work is also developing mobile apps that will help users locate mental health and substance abuse treatments anywhere in Alabama, provide tailored information to health providers about Opioid Use Disorder and help people in rural communities find transportation to medical appointments.

These types of collaborations help demonstrate UA’s needs as a research institution. Adding RSEs, as well as lab technicians, will allow for dedicated personnel to be available for software and other equipment support.

“Having a research software engineer improves UA’s ability to be adaptable and enhances its R1 status,” said AWI Executive Director Scott Rayder. “It frees up researchers to do their work while allowing UA to address collaborative needs as we grow.”

Jain is employed by the Alabama Cyber Institute, and his position is funded in part by the Alabama Water Institute. To learn more about RSE capabilities and how to schedule research software projects, contact Dr. Jeffrey Carver or Dr. Karnesh Jain at ACI.

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