July BEAR newsletter

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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.



This month the team have been busy installing our Tier 2 HPC-facility Baskerville, building applications for it and welcoming our first pilot users. In other news, data stored in the BEAR Research Data Store has reached a massive 3 PetaBytes, we have a new way for you to acknowledge BEAR, new BEAR training dates available for booking and we are looking for feedback from users of our BlueBEAR portal.

In this newsletter we cover:

  • Only BEAR DataShare is being retired
  • Acknowledging BEAR in publications
  • POWER9 nodes up and running
  • Feedback for BEAR portal
  • NEW! Training courses
  • NEW! Open Research Canvas course
  • Stata Special Interest Group
  • Data Stewards in Life Sciences
  • Virtual BEAR drop-in sessions

Only BEAR DataShare is being retired 

We have heard reports from various areas of the University that there is confusion over whether BEAR Services are still going to be running. We would just like to confirm that it is only the sync and share solution BEAR DataShare that is being retired in January 2022. All other BEAR Services, including the BEAR Research Data Store (containing 3PB and 1.3 billion files) are remaining. Further information on the retirement is available in our blog post and you can come along to our drop-in sessions (listed below) for advice on where to migrate data to.

Acknowledging BEAR/CaStLeS in publications and outputs

We have updated our webpage on acknowledging BEAR in publications, so that as well as including wording that can be used in paper acknowledgements and a link to the CaStLeS technical paper that can be cited, we now provide information on how you can link your research outputs in Pure to using BEAR as a facility. Any acknowledgement you give helps the University understand how important the BEAR facilities are to your research.  

POWER9 Nodes up and running

Hardware-compatibility issues with the POWER9 nodes after the EL8 upgrade have now been resolved after a kernel update was released and various software fixes were applied. Therefore, the POWER9 nodes are now available again for submitting jobs to.

Feedback on the BlueBEAR portal

Have you used the BlueBEAR portal to access BlueBEAR? We are trying to gather feedback on how easy (or not!) it was to use and any problems you may have encountered. If you have found it of benefit to your research then we would love to hear about how, so we could use this as a case study to encourage other researchers to make use of it. Please fill in our feedback form here:https://forms.office.com/r/NadXMh81LD

NEW! Training Course Dates

We have training courses coming up on Introduction to BlueBEAR (12th July), Software Carpentry – Git (14th July) and Software Carpentry – MATLAB (20th & 21st July). To find out more information about the workshops and register go to: https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/bear-training

NEW! Open Research Canvas Course

After a highly successful series of Open Research Forum events, featuring UoB researchers covering all aspects of open research (see our summary blog post), the Open Research Canvas course was officially launched. The Library-led course covers open data, open access publications, open infrastructure, licensing, and reproducible and open code. You can self-enrol here: https://canvas.bham.ac.uk/enroll/W7BHKJ

Stata Special Interest Group

The Stata Special Interest Group has been dormant for a while and we are wondering if there is any interest in reviving it to provide a support community for Stata users. If you are interested in being part of this, or in chairing the group with support from the BEAR team, please email bearinfo@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Life Science Data Steward Training

Do you manage Life Science data as part of your role at the University? Would you like to develop your training skills, disseminate your knowledge, and be part of a growing community of Data Stewards across the UK? ELIXIR-UK has launched a new FAIR Data Stewardship Training Fellowship programme, which has been funded as part of the UKRI Data Science Innovation Scholars award. Find out more and how to apply here (deadline 30th July): https://elixiruknode.org/elixir-uk-data-training-fellowship/

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:

  • Thursday 8th July 11:00-12:00
  • Tuesday 13th July 09:00-10:00
  • Monday 19th July 13:30-14:30
  • Tuesday 27th July 11:00-12:00

To join the drop-in sessions, email bearinfo@contacts.bham.ac.uk 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.

Signing up for our Newsletter

To get the BEAR newsletter sent direct to your inbox each month, email us at bearinfo@contacts.bham.ac.uk and ask to join our bear-updates mailing list.


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