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James Byrne

James Byrne

SSI fellow

British Antarctic Survey

British Antarctic Survey


My professional interests focus on the development of multi-scale software and devops integrations in many forms, across multiple infrastructures. I help data scientists, engineers and other software developers design and improve the sustainability of their engineering efforts. I work to supply tooling to alleviate the pain points in leveraging compute resource effectively for their research efforts.

My personal interests, aside from my recreational technological pursuits, are in music of all forms (producing and consuming), cooking, hiking and cycling!

My work

Before joining the research community I gained extensive software development and DevOps experience working for on-prem, hybrid and cloud based organisations in industries as diverse as defence, professional services, finance and telecommunications. I joined the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in 2016 as a wintering Data Manager. My first role with BAS was working as a systems administrator and developer at the remote Halley (75°S) and Rothera (67°S) bases, wintering at the latter (which was an amazing experience!) I redeveloped the deployment infrastructures for scientific data management systems whilst in Antarctica, as well as undertaking development on numerous operational and scientific systems including meteorological, operational, space weather and glaciological experiments.

Moving then into the central BAS Linux team, I worked on core systems including identity management, storage area networks and high ­performance computing facilities as well as projects supporting operational systems and physics-based/ML-driven modelling pipelines. These experiences have all built on my long standing fascination with developing modular system architectures, adopting best practice software design principles and open source adoption to avoid unnecessary replication and duplication of effort. Most recently I joined the BAS AI Lab as an RSE to champion reproducible and sustainable software practices. I now couple my industry experience to my polar and operational IT experience to drive innovative and positive change within the software development departments of the organisation, as well as hoping to champion the important role software plays in polar research.

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