January 2021 Newsletter

11 January 2021 12:00

University of Sheffield Research Software Engineering Team Newsletter January 2021

This is the 7th monthly newsletter from the Research Software Engineering Team at The University of Sheffield. We aim to share our experiences and information of other communities for those using software for research. This newsletter collects interesting events and opportunities over the coming month. It also signposts to other resources that we find beneficial or interesting. You may find the content interesting if you are someone in research using software: such as researchers, research developers, or people paid to develop software like Research Software Engineers (RSEs).

To receive this newsletter as an email each month, please sign up to our Google Group.

All dates and times are in GMT (UTC+00)


  • Welcome to 2021!
  • The Software Sustainability Institute’s 2021 Collaborations Workshop is now open for registration; this is an annual event that always proves to be fruitful and a great experience for all attending. The event will bring together the research software community to discuss FAIR Research Software, Diversity & Inclusion, & Software Sustainability.
  • The Software Sustainability Institute has opened applications for their 2021 Fellowship Programme.


  • LunchBytes: Beyond Static Data Visualisation — A series of short talks hosted by the Sheffield RSE group. This month, the theme for the talks is forms of data visualisation beyond simple static graphs.
  • The Software Sustainability Institute is running its first online Research Software Camp on the topic of making your research accessible from 22nd February to 7th March 2021.
  • N8 CIR Bede HPC Cluster Introductory Event - This introductory event offers those who are new to HPC the opportunity to learn more about Bede’s hardware and software, as well as the support that is available to users, regardless of their experience of HPC. The event is running online 28 Jan 2021 10 a.m. — 11:30 a.m.
  • Deep Learning with Tensorflow in Python (11th February) or R (18th February) Sheffield Research Software Engineering are offering two introductory courses to Deep Learning with Tensorflow throughout February 2021, one in Python and one in R.
  • The Scholarly Communications team at TUoS Library are hosting Open Research Conversations, a series of online discussions on Open Research Practices. Sessions will include talks from researchers who have made their research open and other experts sharing their experiences, promoting best practices and discussing the challenges they are facing:
    • 18th January 2021 Reproducibility in Practice: a discussion on the importance of reproducibility and the challenges faced when attempting to reproduce others’ research with Tom Stafford & Anna Krystalli
  • ARCHER2 are providing training courses throughout January which are free to academics and researchers.
  • CSV Conference is a community conference for data makers everywhere that features stories about data sharing and data analysis from science, journalism, government, and open source.


A Series of Online Research Software Events (SORSE) is organized by volunteers from the international Research Software Engineers community — an international answer to the COVID-19-induced cancellation of many national RSE conferences.

Upcoming SORSE events


LunchBytes is a monthly series of short talks for those in the research community at TUOS who work with/write code, use/manage research data and use/manage research infrastructure. Through these talks we come together as a community to discuss best practices and useful methods/tools.

If you’re interested in curating a session or giving a talk, get in touch at: lunchbytes-organisers-group@sheffield.ac.uk

Upcoming LunchBytes
  • LunchBytes #4: Data Visualisation - 12:00 Wednesday 13th January, online Google meet. This month, we have talks on plotting data in time using video, the use of Shiny to develop interactive web interfaces to represent datasets or support data manipulation, and a consideration of the problem data visualisation solves and a look at the alternative tools in the toolbox.
Previous LunchBytes

Video recordings and slides from previous LunchBytes sessions are available via the RSE Sheffield website

Puzzle Corner

Are you looking for a fun programming based set of puzzles to while away those long (boreal) winter nights? You might like to try Project Euler which is a series of problems that are designed to be solved with the aid of a computer (no particular programming language is recommended).

Euler Problem 2 - Even Fibonacci Numbers is:

Each new term in the Fibonacci sequence is generated by adding the previous two terms. By starting with 1 and 2, the first 10 terms will be: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, … By considering the terms in the Fibonacci sequence whose values do not exceed four million, find the sum of the even-valued terms.


Web and Blogs

Software and Updates

  • C++ 2020 officially approved and published. Read the report on the state of C++ at the end of 2020 here.
  • Microsoft Excel announces the introduction of custom functions using their LAMBDA feature.
  • Dark mode has arrived on GitHub.


If you think there are other great training resources we should advertise, please get in contact (rse-team-group@sheffield.ac.uk).

Sheffield RSE Team Services

The RSE team aims to collaborate with you to help improve your research software. We can provide dedicated staff to ensure that you can deliver excellent research software engineering on your research projects.

The RSE team provides free Code clinics and paid services allowing us to collaborate longer term.

Contact Us

For queries relating to collaborating with the RSE team on projects: rse@sheffield.ac.uk

Information and access to JADE II and Bede.

Join our mailing list so as to be notified when we advertise talks and workshops by subscribing to this Google Group.

Queries regarding free research computing support/guidance should be raised via our Code clinic or directed to the University IT helpdesk.