Imperial College Research Software Community Newsletter - August 2020

If you are reading this, you survived the August Heatwave. Well done!

After many weeks working from home, I have enjoyed drinking different types of teas, such as Rooibos and Jasmine Tea, that I recently discovered go very well with 90% cocoa chocolate.

More importantly, I have learned a number of important insights from the Research Software Community in our weekly coffee every Friday! Firstly, that there is a controversy between tea and coffee lovers in the community, as well a couple of individuals who need both psychoactive beverages to survive. Secondly, that Fortran will never die. Finally, that it can be difficult to find meaning in times of coronavirus, especially when the quick advances in machine learning make us question whether there is something unique in ourselves, humans.

Does free will exist? Will Fortran coded mad robots control the world and annihilate the humankind? Will we become irrelevant? Speculating around these questions won’t put us in the right direction. Instead, let’s have a look at the activities and material on which we have actual influence, and by the hopeful domination of the technology and the acquisition of knowledge we will have better odds of becoming superhuman cyborgs and saving the world.

Dates for your diary


The launch event for SORSE (an International Series of Online Research Software Events) is taking place 14:00-16:00 BST on Wednesday 2nd September. A lot of work has been put in to getting SORSE up and running over recent months to provide an alternative to the various RSE community conferences and events that have been cancelled and that we’ve all missed out on this year. This will be a great launch for the series with a short intro to SORSE followed by two 30-minute keynote talks:

Registration is now open.

You can find details of upcoming events that will take place in the weeks following the launch in the SORSE programme.

The next submission deadline is the 31st August.

Don’t forget to submit your contributions. Make Chris C-A proud of the participation of the Imperial College Research Software Community!

RSE Bytes


Blog posts, tools & more

CFD Tools and News

Research Software of the Month

Pint nominated by Diego Alonso Álvarez. Thanks Diego for the contribution!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a magnitude without units is meaningless. However, when coding, we systematically disregard any units except, maybe - if you are lucky - in the inputs to the software. Until now.

Pint is a Python package designed to enable the consistent use of units across your calculations. It lets you perform arithmetic operations and manipulation of physical quantities, not just numbers, providing the much-needed context and expressiveness to your code. Pint comes with an enormous list of units, which can be used on their own or as part of a units system (S.I., c.g.s, imperial…). It is highly modular, and let you add your own units… in the unlikely case the one you are looking for is not already implemented. As a final bonus, it has support for Numpy arrays, so there is no excuse for not giving it a try.

Cheers for the dimensional consistency!


Historical fact: since the beginning of the times, most OpenFOAM calculations are performed over the dimensionedScalar type, which ensures dimensional consistency otherwise gives you a nasty compilation error.

Some reminders…

Today is your very last chance to complete the Research Software survey and tell the Research Computing Service and Research Software Community about the challenges you face as a user or developer of Research Software at Imperial.

RS Community coffee continues weekly via Zoom - check our Slack workspace for exact times and connection details.

The Research Computing Service clinics are running online every week. Questions are welcome from all members of the Imperial research community - from HPC to software engineering.

The Research Computing Service’s Research Computing Tips continue to be published weekly and there is now a list of topics. Please contact Mark Woodbridge ( with suggestions for future entries. The latest have been:

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 Felipe Huerta. All previous newsletters are available in our online archive.