Imperial College Research Software Community Newsletter - June 2019

Greetings, Imperial RSEs!

Summer is here and it almost never gets dark. It is time to go to the park, to organise BBQs and to be outside 😎… or not 🌧️ . There are plenty of options and things to do in the world of research software, so have a look at the latest news and what this Summer will bring.

In this newsletter:

What Did I Miss?

Not just BBQs in Summer!

NOW: Registration for the RSE 2019 is now open, so get your tickets before it is too late! Don’t miss the workshop Diego Alonso is leading on graphic user interfaces for Python or the poster presented by Jeremy Cohen.

7 July: Early bird registration closes for the 12th European Conference on Python in Science in Bilbao, Spain.

8-9 July: Registration is now open for our first regional Research Software London Software Carpentry Workshop, to be held at Queen Mary University.

12 July: PyData London 2019. Mainly about Python tools but also R & Julia.

Late July: There are several ARCHER courses scheduled for late July. Some are fully booked, but you can register anyway to be added to the waiting list. Info and registration.

22-26 July: in Warsaw, Poland: 3rd International Summer School on Deep Learning

For the Forward Planners…

2-6 September: 12th European Conference on Python in Science in Bilbao, Spain.

17-19 September: RSE 2019 will be held at the University of Birmingham.

28 September: The Festival of Maintenance in Liverpool. A celebration of those who maintain different parts of our world, and how they do it, recognising the often hidden work done in repair, custodianship, stewardship, tending and caring for the things that matter. And that includes code maintainers everywhere…

17 November: Supercomputing 2019, Denver, Colorado, includes the International Workshop on Software Engineering for HPC-Enabled Research

Research Software of the Month

Solar energy - and wind - is the riding horse of the renewable energy sources and the Department of Physics at Imperial has been a leader in this area since the early 90’s. Back then, research software was at the heart of the development of novel solar cell concepts. Nothing remains of that software, now, but their heirs are very much alive and kicking:

Solcore, created by the Quentum Photovoltaics Group, is the direct descendant of those early programs. Written mostly in Python (with some bits in Fortran), it was conceived as a teaching tool as much as a modelling tool. Solcore was specialised in the modelling of quantum well solar cells and multi-junction, high concentration photovoltaics, able of reaching efficiencies of nearly 50%.

Driftfusion was born to tackle the idiosyncrasy of perovskite solar cells, which need to consider the movement of ions (charged atoms) in the structure of the cells, and not just electrons as in any sensible semiconductor material 🙃. Unique in its features, Driftfusion is written in Matlab and therefore not as free as we would like it to be. For now.

Last but not least we have RayFlare, the ultimate software for modelling light absorption in solar cells. Written in Python and still in its infancy, RayFlare has been designed to address the basic problem of calculating how much sunlight is absorbed in a solar cell and, especially, where. It combines different numerical techniques and approximations to deal efficiently with the problem in different scales, from a few nanometers to hundreds of micrometers.

If you have a suggestion for software that you’d like to see us feature in this section, please email rse-committee at

RSE Bytes



Tutorials / Blogposts / Podcasts / Misc

Get in touch, get involved!

That’s all for this month, and thanks to everyone who suggested links for this edition. If you’d like anything included in the newsletter, have ideas about how it could be improved, or would even like to guest-edit a future edition then just drop us a line at rse-committee at And if you’re reading this on the web and would like to receive the next newsletter directly to your inbox then please subscribe here.

This edition of the Research Software Community Newsletter was edited by Diego Alonso Álvarez