December BEAR Newsletter

BlueBEAR working
BlueBEAR will be busy working over Christmas, processing your data ready for when you come back!

Welcome to the BEAR Newsletter, bringing you the latest news from the BEAR team (Birmingham Environment for Academic Research), as well as other relevant computing and data-related news from both within the University of Birmingham and outside.

We have lots of news to cover in this month’s newsletter, with researchers we support winning international awards, details on a new Coding Club, updates on the BEAR Research Software Group, a reminder about the upcoming BEAR DataShare retirement in January and we introduce a new way to access GUI applications for BlueBEAR. 

If you follow us on Twitter, we hope you have been enjoying our #12daysofchristmas. We wish all our BEAR users a very Merry Christmas and hope you have a great break!  

In this newsletter we cover:

  • HPC Wire Awards
  • NEW: Coding Club Starting in January
  • BEAR Research Software Group News
  • BEAR DataShare Retirement
  • NEW: BlueBEAR GUI Application Launcher
  • RAPIDS Bootcamp for AI and Deep Learning
  • IP for Research Live Lectures
  • Virtual BEAR Drop-in Sessions 

HPC Wire Awards

We are excited to announce that researchers who use our advanced computing facilities have been recognised as award winners in the HPCwire2021 awards! Advanced Research Computing is very proud to provide the BEAR computing facilities to support life changing research at the University, which has again been internationally recognised in these highly competitive, global awards. For more details on the awards and the research involved have a read of the press release in our blog post:

NEW! Coding Club Starting in January

After much demand from our researchers we are launching a new Coding Club in 2022, with the first meeting being on Monday the 24th Januaryat 1pm (via Zoom), covering the benefits of coding and toolboxes needed. Following on from the success of The Hacker Within, we aim to rebuild a community of researchers and staff with an interest in coding – whether you are just starting out or are an advanced programmer, we hope to cater to both! Whilst the Advanced Research Computing team will be coordinating the club, there are lots of opportunities for you to get involved. Find out more in our blog post: 

BEAR Research Software Group News

This month we were very pleased to welcome Jenny Wong to the BEAR Research Software Group to work as a pool Senior Research Software Engineer (RSE) on a variety of projects – you can read about her first week in this blog post. Unfortunately we are saying goodbye to one of our existing RSE’s Ryan Pepper, thanks to Ryan for all the great work on research projects over the past year. We know how important RSE’s are to the research community at the University, so have moved quickly to find Ryan’s replacement and we are very pleased to announce that a new RSE will be joining the team in January.

BEAR DataShare Retirement

We have been sending regular reminders to users of our BEAR DataShare service that it is due to be retired on 21st January, 2022. Please note It is only the sync and share solution BEAR DataShare that is being retired in January. All other BEAR Services, including the BEAR Research Data Store (containing over 3PB and 1.3 billion files) are remaining. Further information on the retirement is available in our blog post here and you can come along to one of our drop-in sessions (listed below) for advice on where to migrate data to. Find information on the data retention policy for BEAR DataShare after the retirement here

NEW! BlueBEAR GUI Application Launcher

We have recently released a new BlueBEAR GUI app on the BEAR Portal ( Unlike the existing Portal apps (e.g. MATLAB, RStudio), BlueBEAR GUI is a general purpose app – the built-in XTerm application allows customisation of the environment beyond what was previously possible, for example by loading additional modules, specifying environment variables etc. For further information please refer to our documentation:

RAPIDS Bootcamp for AI and Deep Learning

The Hartree Centre is collaborating with NVIDIA on a two-day online RAPIDS bootcamp on 17-18th February, 2022. Attendees should have basic experience in Python and will have the opportunity to learn how to apply AI tools and techniques to several applications ranging from medical image to product assistance. Further information on the bootcamp, including how to apply is available here

Intellectual Property for Research – Live Lectures 2022

Vitae are running a series of Live Lectures covering topics around Intellectual Property for Research starting on 12th January, 2022. These events aim to:

  • Increase the Intellectual Property (IP) knowledge and skills of doctoral and early career researchers;
  • Help researchers create greater impact through the IP generated in their research;
  • Clarify how, why and when researchers should engage with their institution about IP

Find out more information on the IP Live Lectures and book a place here

Virtual BEAR Drop-in Sessions 

We are running our virtual drop-in sessions via Zoom as it allows us to create breakout rooms to discuss particular questions face-to-face. You can use these sessions to find out more about BEAR in general and the advanced research computing facilities we provide or we can answer specific questions e.g. running jobs on BlueBEAR, using the BlueBEAR portal or how to migrate from BEAR DataShare. 

Current dates are listed here and below:

  • Friday 7th January 11-12
  • Wednesday 12th January 13:30-14:30
  • Monday 17th January 13:30-14:30
  • Thursday 27th January 10-11

To join the drop-in sessions, email and we will send you the Zoom link and instructions on joining. Please let us know the topic of your query, so we can find the most suitable BEAR team member to speak to you.

Missed last month's newsletter?

Find November's newsletter here.


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