BlueBEAR is the University supercomputer, for high performance computing (HPC) and high throughput computing (HTC). BlueBEAR employs some of the latest technology to deliver fast and efficient processing capacity for researchers while minimizing energy consumption by using direct, on-chip, water cooling. The service is free at the point of use to all researchers at the University.
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 upgraded 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 the BEAR Applications Versions pages for details on the generations of applications available.
Access to BlueBEAR
There are two steps to gaining access to BlueBEAR:
- being registered on a BEAR project that has access to the BlueBEAR service;
- have an active BEAR Linux account.
Once you are a member of a suitable BEAR project and have an active BEAR Linux account, then the Accessing BlueBEAR page provides information on accessing BlueBEAR.
Applications on BlueBEAR
The BEAR Applications website details the extensive catalogue of applications available on BlueBEAR and how to access it. These applications include a range of compilers, libraries and software development tools are provided to allow for users write their own code to run on the system. To request the installation of a new application, or an update to an existing one, please open a Request New BEAR Software ticket.
For commercial applications we may provide a limited number of licences so that they are available to all users of the service. If guaranteed availability is required, for example for a long-term or time-critical project, then we recommend that users purchase their own licences for use on this system.
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). For more details and information about how long applications and operating systems are supported please see BEAR Application Versions.
Accessing BlueBEAR using the BlueBEAR Portal
The BlueBEAR Portal provides web-based access to a range of BlueBEAR services, such as JupyterLab, RStudio, and some GUI applications. It also provides access for submitting BlueBEAR compute jobs. The BlueBEAR Portal is only available from on-campus or through using the University Remote Access Service.
All storage on BlueBEAR is provided through the Research Data Store (RDS). User home directories are restricted to 20GB; active research data should be stored in a project on the RDS.
Help and Support
If you have questions or are struggling, then please see the Contact Us for information on requesting help or support.
The IT Services status page will include information on known operational issues with BlueBEAR. This also includes any scheduled maintenance or downtime.
Acknowledging the use of BlueBEAR in your Publications
Finally, we would like to ask for your support in continuing to justify the investment in HPC by acknowledging use of BlueBEAR in your publications. A possible form of words can be found here along with a form to notify us of publication which will allow us to further publicize your research in conjunction with the BlueBEAR service.
Users are reminded that they must adhere to the Campus Conditions of Use, Data Protection legislation and the University of Birmingham's Security Policy.