The Software Sustainability Institute

PyConUK afforded me a great oppportunity to converse with fellow technicians, including those working in HE.  Carwyn, based at Bangor University, reminded me about the Software Sustainability Institute, based at the universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, Oxford and Southampton.  Whose aim is to support better research by helping researchers to build and use better software.

Micro Python – shrinking Python down to run on a micro controller (Damien George)

Damien George, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, has rewritten Python to be optimised for running on a micro controller.  For example, the small computers that you might find in your washing machine, sometimes only have 64kb of RAM, so are generally controlled by programs written in C.

MicroPython is implemented on Python 3 and includes the usual Python features, such as:

  • floating point
  • complex numbers
  • bignum
  • math apps
  • generators
  • classes

Uses 528 bytes of RAM at standing and MicroPython will run on various operating systems as well as bare metal.

There are some differences, like not redefining built-ins functions and Micro Python uses garbage collection.  For more information

The open source project at: has been well received with over 1200 stars and 170 forks.

The Pyboard

  • is Python on bare metal, USB port, SD card port, accelerometer, 192k RAM or can can run stand alone from a battery.
  • made by Geltech
  • £28 per board
  • Light version is coming that is a lot cheaper, expected to be around £20

More information:

How does a spreadsheet work? A tour of the codebase of Dirigible, the Pythonic spreadsheet by Harry Percival

As always an entertaining speaker.  Harry gave us a world wind tour of the code related to a end of life, open source, project

He also encouraged any self respecting Pythonista to sign up and register for an account at

Tip: Did you know you could add a name space to eval commands, to limit their scope.