News from CCP4: April 2000Peter Briggs, Martyn Winn, Sue Bailey, Alun Ashton, David Brown, Charles Ballard
There have been two changes to the CCP4 staff since the last newsletter. At the end of October 1999 we said farewell to Sheila Peters, who left Daresbury for the more temperate climes of Manchester. Sheila was only with us for a short time, and we wish her well in her new job.
However, as one door shuts so another one opens ... at the beginning of March the Daresbury staff were joined by Dr Charles Ballard. Charles was working as a Computational Chemist in Japan prior to taking up his current post here as a scientific programmer.
BCA Summer School at St Andrews: the last summer school took place in August 1999 and was organised by Gerry Taylor and Jim Naismith. The week-long intensive course on Protein Crystallography was aimed at students and young postdocs, and was funded in part by CCP4. For details see the report by Jim Naismith in this newsletter. The next BCA summer school will be in Bristol, this September - see http://www.bch.bris.ac.uk/pxss/sum_school.html for more details.
Developers seminars: December 2000 saw the first CCP4 Developers Seminar, organised by Garib Murshudov, which was aimed at program developers and focused on developments in methodology. Although the meeting was deliberately small and low-key, it is hoped that this will evolve in a regular series of meetings to encourage discussion about various issues. More information to follow.
Study Weekend 2000: This years CCP4 study weekend was held at the Univeristy of York and the topic - Low Resolution Phasing - proved as popular as ever with some 350 delegates attending. CCP4 would like to thank especially the scientific organisers - Julie Wilson (York), Jonathan Grimes (Oxford) and Helen Saibil (Birbeck) - and of course all the speakers. The proceedings from the study weekend will be published later this year in Acta Cryst. D. For more details of this year's goings-on, see the report by Julie Wilson, elsewhere in this issue.
The next study weekend (on January 5/6th 2001) will also be held at York. The topic will be "Molecular Replacement and its relatives". The organisers are Jim Naismith (St-Andrews) and Kevin Cowtan (York). If you have any ideas for speekers or topics to be covered they would be delighted to hear from you (so I'm told!). Their email addresses are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Further announcements will follow so keep an eye out on the CCP4 Bulletin Board.
Finally, the CCP4 staff will also be making trips to conferences and workshops this summer - look out for us at the ACA meeting in St. Paul Minnesota in July (see http://nexus.hwi.buffalo.edu/ACA/ACA-Annual/StPaul/StPaul.html), and the ECM 19 meeting in Nancy in August (see http://www.lcm3b.u-nancy.fr/ecm19/.
Mid-January saw the release of version 4.0 of the CCP4 suite, followed shortly after by the patch release 4.0.1. As always the patch release is intended only to fix minor bugs in the release, and if you are already using 4.0 without any problems then we don't recommend you bothering to upgrade.
The major changes from 3.5 to 4.0 are:
There are also a number of new programs:
Other highlights include:
Another new development is the limited provision of precompiled binaries for CCP4 4.0. These are only available for IRIX (32- and 64-bit versions, prepared on IRIX6.5 R10k) and alpha (prepared on Digital UNIX V4.0F). These must be downloaded in addition (not instead of) the normal CCP4 distribution, and you should read the enclosed BINARY.readme file.
As always, details of all the changes can be found in the CHANGES file in the top-level directory ($CCP4), and in $CCP4/html/CHANGESinV4_0.html. We also urge people to check the CCP4 Problems Pages before reporting any bugs (with fixes, if possible!) to email@example.com.
As the start of CCP4's 21st anniversary year, January 2000 saw the award of the first CCP4 ``travel scholarships'', providing money for crystallographers (mainly from developing countries) to attend the annual CCP4 Study Weekend and then to visit crystallography labs around the UK. The scheme is seen as a way of encouraging further international collaboration in the Protein Crystallography community.
This year three scholarships were awarded, to Mr S. Ravichandran (Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Calcutta), Dr Tao Jiang (Institute of Biophysics, Academia Sinica, Beijing) and Professor Li-wen Niu (University of Science & Technology of China, Hefei). It is expected that the scheme will run for a number of years.
We are grateful to Ravi for recounting some of his very positive experiences this year in his article, elsewhere in this newsletter.