Imperial College Research Software Community Newsletter - February 2020

Willkommen, bienvenue and welcome, to the sunlit uplands of the first post-Brexit RS Community newsletter! If you’re feeling downhearted with the state of the world be cheered knowing that even if it does feel like 1972 again, well, plus c’est la même chose. Out of the EU, workers on strike, but artificial intelligence is still exciting everyone, and there’s always ground-breaking work going on at Imperial. Perhaps we can conclude that man, like other primitive types, is fundamentally immutable.

And so to this month’s fun.

Dates for your diaries

RSE Bytes


Blog posts, tools & more

(Almost) Research Software of the Month

A few newsletters ago we wrote about a lightweight Python web framework called Streamlit, which I tried using on a project this month. The best way I can think of to describe it is that it’s like R Studio’s Shiny but for Python - in other words a good thing, in my book. I got a simple web interface to a command line tool working quickly - it has a bunch of ready-made UI widgets for user input and results display (tables, graphs) and is very easy to wire up - but then discovered that it wouldn’t let me style the page with my own CSS, so I went with Dash in the end. I’d still recommend Streamlit for a quick prototype - all those callbacks in Dash make my head swim - but I like my divs the way I like ‘em, so there we are. Faut souffrir pour être belle.

Some reminders…

Registration is open for the RSE team’s two courses on Essential Software Engineering for Researchers:

The Research Software Community is run by a committee of 8 volunteers. We’re always looking for new committee members to help bring new ideas, organise events, edit our newsletters and generally help in making the community work for its members. If you’d like to get involved, or you have any questions, contact Jeremy Cohen.

A new Slack workspace is available for members of the RS Community and RSEs based at nearby institutions. It was set up following discussions at December’s Winter Seminars event and you can join via this link.

The Research Computing Service continues to run a weekly clinic for all matters related to research computing. Bring along your HPC or programming problem or just come to talk to the RSE team about your (or their!) work. See the schedule for dates and locations of upcoming clinics.

If you’re developing open source research software at Imperial then please consider submitting it to the Research Software Directory by either opening a pull request or dropping a line to Mark Woodbridge (

Get in Touch, Get Involved!

That’s all for this month. Thanks to everyone who suggested links for this edition.

Drop us a line with anything you’d like included in the newsletter, ideas about how it could be improved… or even offer to guest-edit a future edition!

If you’re reading this on the web and would like to receive the next newsletter directly to your inbox then please subscribe to our RSE Community Mailing List here.

This issue of the Research Software Community Newsletter was edited by Jazz Mack Smith. All previous newsletters are available in our online archive.