BEAR Applications Versions

The operating system (OS) used on BlueBEAR has been upgraded, to RedHat 8, in April 2021. The BEAR Cloud and CaStLeS Virtual Machines are also being upgrade in 2021. Some applications will no longer be supported. Please see the 2021 OS Upgrade page for specific details about applications that have been replaced and below for details on the generations of applications available.

Every six months we start a new version of our BEAR Applications ("bear-apps"), which is a default set of tools and libraries that are used as the basis for all the applications we install on the BEAR systems (BlueBEAR, BEARCloud VMs and CaStLeS VMs). We only use a bear-apps version for new installations for about one year. The applications in a bear-apps version will be available to use for several years after we've finished using it for new installations - see the details below.

Certain bear-apps versions are loaded automatically. For example, in March 2021 we have bear-apps/2018b, bear-apps/2019a, bear-apps/2019b, and bear-apps/2020a. The latest bear-apps/2020b is not yet loaded automatically, and some pages on our bear-apps.bham.ac.uk website include instructions for loading that first. This is just an example, and is correct as of March 2021.

We normally support bear-apps versions from the current year and the previous two years, after which they are deprecated (see below), and later may be removed without warning.

Almost all of our applications are built using EasyBuild, "a software build and installation framework that allows you to manage (scientific) software on High Performance Computing (HPC) systems in an efficient way." You will sometimes see a bear-apps version with a suffix "h", meaning the software had to be installed by hand instead.

BlueBEAR

  • x86_64 - RedHat (EL8) will support bear-apps versions 2018b onwards until 2021, and later versions for longer. We will not be building applications from the bear-apps versions 2018a, or earlier, so they will not be available.
  • POWER9 - RedHat (EL8) will support bear-apps versions 2019 onwards until 2021, and later versions for longer. We will not be building applications from the bear-apps versions of 2018, or earlier, so they will not be available.

BEARCloud and CaStLeS Virtual Machines (VMs)

This applies to BEARCloud and CaStLeS VMs that are setup to use the standard bear-apps installed applications.

  • EL7 and EL8 as for BlueBEAR. We will communicate directly with people to upgrade EL7 VMs in due course. We expect the first CentOS 8 Stream VMs to be available in early 2021.
  • Ubuntu 20.04 will support bear-apps versions 2018b onwards until 2021, and later versions for longer. We will not be building applications from the bear-apps versions 2018a, or earlier, on Ubuntu 20.04, so they will not be available. We will also not be building PyTorch or TensorFlow for Ubuntu VMs - those wishing to use these should use BlueBEAR instead.

Deprecation

We will usually support bear-apps versions from the current year and the previous two years, after which they are marked as deprecated and may be removed without warning. For example, as of March 2021 any applications in bear-apps versions from 2018a or earlier are marked as deprecated, and the following warning is shown when they are loaded:

--------------------------- UNSUPPORTED WARNING ------------------------------
This module is NOT SUPPORTED and may be removed without further warning:
 * apps/cytoscape/v3.2.0

Please see https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/bear-apps-versions for
further details.

Please see https://bear-apps.bham.ac.uk for alternative versions.
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