RSE Sheffield Blog

Using git cherry-pick to split up a branch (video)

Robert (Bob) Turner
23 April 2021 13:00

Software engineer / developer / coder / RSE? Ever find there’s a branch with just too many commits to review effectively? RSE Sheffield’s Bob Turner may have the answer!

The Hidden REF

David Wilby
15 April 2021 13:00

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the UK government’s scheme for assessing the quality of research in UK universities. Every few years, UK universities are asked to submit examples of their research for review, following an internal review process. In short, universities submit their best examples of:

  • published articles,
  • case studies of research impact, and
  • data on doctoral degrees awarded and research income.

12 week GPU course

Paul Richmond
4 February 2021 20:00

Starting Monday 7th Feb is a 12 week course on Parallel Computing with GPUs. The course has been designed as an undergraduate 4th year module for Computer Science but is available to staff and PhD Students (as part of the DDP program) and regularly has staff and PhD student enrollment.

Secondment opportunity within the University of Sheffield Research Software Engineering (RSE) team

RSE Team
25 January 2021 12:00

Are you currently working or studying at the University of Sheffield and interested in a secondment to the Research Software Engineering (RSE) team to develop sustainable research software?

The RSE team has grown in the last couple of years but there is currently unprecedented demand for RSE support on research projects. We are urgently looking for someone to join our team of twelve on a short to medium term basis to work on one or two specific projects, the most significant being a role in the Scottish Covid Response Consortium ( The main activities in that project include improving some modelling software, developing a data pipeline and an API, and integrating the modelling software within a framework. Python development experience, a working knowledge of version control with git/GitHub and of software testing are key; experience of developing/using web services and databases would also be useful. We want this secondment to be an opportunity for growth and we will support and mentor you in this role.

Data visualisation in C++ with computational models

Seb James
25 January 2021 12:00

A guest post by Seb James, Research Associate, Department of Psychology (GitHub; Twitter).

In this blog post I’m going to talk about data visualisation - making graphs - within C++ programs. I’ll describe why you might want to do this and I’ll try to justify why I’ve spent a sizeable part of my time over the last couple of years developing graphing code in C++, rather than using Python or R like everyone else! The code I’ll discuss is available at

Reproducible Data Analysis Resources

Robert (Bob) Turner
7 December 2020 12:00

This blog post provides a copy of my recent talk at the Royal Microscopical Society’s Virtual Data Analysis in Atomic Force Microscopy Meeting (Event Page): How can we make AFM data analysis more open and reproducible?

I’ve also put together what I hope will be some useful links:

Introducing HPC to new PhD students

Will Furnass
22 September 2020 13:00

Two challenges PhD students encounter are:

  • Knowing what up-skilling to do when you start
  • Not being aware of better ways of doing things or feeling you have the time to up-skill once you’ve gotten very busy

To help address the above for a particular case I spoke with a new cohort of PhD students today (from the Speech and Language Technologies Centre for Doctoral Training) to explain what high-performance computing (HPC) is and why they might care. The hope is that they will now be able to include HPC in their training plans once they recognise problems that HPC might be well-suited to helping with.

Open Source and Hacktoberfest

Robert (Bob) Turner
21 September 2020 13:00

This is going to be my personal perspective on open source, and hopefully encouragement for you to get involved with Hacktoberfest, a month-long event encouraging participation and coding, which the RSE Team at the University of Sheffield are supporting. I hope to introduce some of the legal, technical, economic and academic aspects of open source – providing context for experts and a gateway for the newly interested. Note: I have no legal training, consult someone who does if you need to! But, my perspective, so we’re going back to when I was first exposed to open source, back around the millennium…


Robert (Bob) Turner
3 September 2020 13:00

I formally led a software development team for the first time as part of the Scottish Covid Response Consortium’s (SCRC) contribution to the Royal Society’s Rapid Assistance in Modelling the Pandemic (RAMP) initiative. The software is Simple Network Sim and was created by Jess Enright, the overall and academic lead for the project and a lecturer at the University of Glasgow. I felt a bit out of my depth to start off with, but the team were fantastic (and mostly way better at Python than me) - I hope my leadership helped them to do their best work. I can’t think of another time I’ve learned so much in three months.

This post is about management and leadership on the project.

Git: rebase vs merge

Robert Chisholm
23 June 2020 13:00

I’m personally a big proponent of using git rebase. Whilst it can be used in place of git merge to combine branches, it operates differently. This can easily lead to people misunderstanding how it works, which can subsequently lead to problems.

The classic problem is that after performing git rebase, you attempt to git push and your changes are rejected as your local HEAD is behind the remote HEAD. Helpfully git bash suggests you should use git pull first, to include the remote changes, before you git push. However, this is not what you want to do. The rebase has intentionally changed history which leads to this disagreement between the local and remote copies of the branch, performing git pull at this stage will (redundantly) merge back in the the commits that were just rebased.

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