Research Software Engineering

One of the key goals of N8 CIR is to ensure that researchers are able to develop the skills they need to access high performance computing (HPC) and embed it in their work.


A significant part of this work is to help build a community of research software engineers (RSEs) across the partnership. The promotion of RSEs helps in two significant ways, firstly by providing platforms and spaces for RSEs to collaborate we hope to see a general improvement in their ability to support researchers. Secondly, by raising awareness and the profile of RSEs we will ensure that researchers consult and utilise the skills that RSEs have to accelerate their work.

You don’t have to have the words ‘research software engineer’ to be an RSE. The Society of Research Software Engineering offer a handy guide to the work that might help you to identify as an RSE. Naturally the main part is being employed to develop software for research, but other considerations include ‘doing computers’ for your group and being employed as a researcher despite predominantly working on software development. You can see the full overview on their website: https://rse.ac.uk/what-is-an-rse/

If you aren’t sure exactly what an RSE does, or how they can help your research or group then our case studies might help. They explain how RSEs have helped to accelerate or expand research possibilities, developed apps or products for research, or simply explain the rationale for RSE groups existing in the first place. Find out more here: https://n8cir.org.uk/supporting-research/rse/case-studies/

Research Software Engineering and Bede

Bede is the N8’s GPU-accelerated HPC platform. Housed at Durham University, the platform utilises IBM Power 9 CPUs and NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs and is ideally suited for AI and machine learning activities.

To help researchers make use of this novel architecture, each of the N8 universities has an RSE dedicated to supporting Bede. Find out who your local contact is, and how to reach them, at: https://n8cir.org.uk/supporting-research/facilities/bede/rse-support-bede/

We also have a small selection of video case studies form researchers who use, or plan to use Bede in their work. You can see these at: https://n8cir.org.uk/events/event-resource/bede-intro-21/

Find out More and Get Involved

You can get involved with the RSE community in a number of ways from joining our mailing list or following us on Twitter through to joining our Bede User Group.

If you’re an RSE, why not have a look at our directory https://n8cir.org.uk/supporting-research/rse/rse-directory/ and see if there are other RSEs at your institution that you could network with? If you aren’t part of the directory already, why not submit an entry? The link to do this is on the page.

You don’t have to have the words ‘research software engineer’ in your job title. If you develop code and software for research, spend more time developing software than conducting research, or are simply the person who looks after the computers in your group, then you may very well be an RSE in all but name.

We also maintain a directory of central RSE groups. If you’re a researcher thinking about engaging an RSE in your project, then this is a good place to start: https://n8cir.org.uk/supporting-research/rse/research-software-engineering-groups/

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