Birmingham Environment for Academic Research


The Birmingham Environment for Academic Research (BEAR) is a collection of complimentary IT resources designed to help research, all of which are free at the point of use. The procurement for the current suite of services resulted in a framework agreement with OCFIBMAdaptive Computing,Mechdyne and IOCOM who bring different areas of expertise to the overall research environment.

Currently the components of BEAR are:

  • BlueBEAR, our Linux-based batch processing High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster
  • BEAR Windows, a Windows-based HPC service
  • BEAR View, offering visualisation, collaboration and large scale videoconferencing facilities including a 4meter by 2meter display screen, 2 and 3-D imaging and movement tracking
  • BEAR Plus, additional computational resources available to Birmingham researchers through the regional MidPlus consortium and other national resources. Some of these national resources may be paid-for services
  • BEAR Hosting, a hosting service for servers or storage purchased by research groups through the BEAR framework. For such purchases, compute nodes and storage are charged at component prices; costs for all supporting infrastructure (racks, switches and of course electricity) are usually met by IT Services.

Planned developments include

  • BEAR Render, a compute cluster optimised for rendering images and videos
  • BEAR Store, a data archive for long term storage, particularly of data ssociated with publications and a Research Data Store (RDS) for work-in-progress and offering dropbox-type facilities for collaboration both on and off campus

Any problems or questions should be logged with the IT Service Desk at This ensures that they reach the most appropriate person and tracked. This also allow any common areas of concern to be identified and addressed as well as addressing the individual support requests.

To justify ongoing funding for this service it is essential that outcomes such as publications and/or grant awards are recognised by the University. Please complete a brief on-line form to give us this information.

Last modified: 27 March 2014

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