May 11-13, 2015
9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Instructors: Pauline Barmby, Xu Fei, Sahar Rahmani, Paul Gribble, Greg Wilson
Helpers: Aycha Tammour, Dimuthu Hemachandra, Laura Lenkic
Software Carpentry's mission is to help scientists and engineers get more research done in less time and with less pain by teaching them basic lab skills for scientific computing. This hands-on workshop will cover basic concepts and tools, including program design, version control, data management, and task automation. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems.
For more information on what we teach and why, please see our paper "Best Practices for Scientific Computing".
Who: The course is aimed at graduate students, senior undergraduates and other researchers. Some previous programming experience in any language is strongly recommended. Affiliates of Western will be given priority for registration, but non-Western attendees are welcome if space permits.
Contact: Please mail email@example.com for more information.
|09:00||Automating tasks with the Unix shell|
|13:00||Building programs with Python or MATLAB|
|09:00||Version control with Git|
|13:00||Managing data with SQL|
|14:50||Practice and challenges|
|09:00||Statistics with R|
|13:00||Putting it all together, code review|
We will use this Etherpad for chatting, taking notes, and sharing URLs and bits of code.
To participate in a Software Carpentry workshop, you will need access to the software described below. In addition, you will need an up-to-date web browser. Once you are done installing the software listed below, please go to this page, which has instructions on how to test that everything was installed correctly. We maintain a list of common issues that occur during installation as a reference for instructors that may be useful on the Configuration Problems and Solutions wiki page.
Bash is a commonly-used shell that gives you the power to do simple tasks more quickly.
Install Git for Windows by downloading and running the installer. This will provide you with both Git and Bash in the Git Bash program.
The default shell in all versions of Mac OS X is bash, so no
need to install anything. You access bash from the Terminal
/Applications/Utilities). You may want to keep
Terminal in your dock for this workshop.
The default shell is usually Bash, but if your
machine is set up differently you can run it by opening a
terminal and typing
bash. There is no need to
Git is a version control system that lets you track who made changes to what when and has options for easily updating a shared or public version of your code on github.com. You will need a supported web browser (current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or Internet Explorer version 9 or above).
Git should be installed on your computer as part of your Bash install (described above).
For OS X 10.8 and higher, install Git for Mac
by downloading and running
After installing Git, there will not be anything in your
as Git is a command line program.
For older versions of OS X (10.5-10.7) use the
most recent available installer for your
OS available here.
Use the Leopard installer for 10.5 and the Snow
Leopard installer for 10.6-10.7.
If Git is not already available on your machine you can try to
install it via your distro's package manager. For Debian/Ubuntu run
sudo apt-get install git and for Fedora run
sudo yum install git.
When you're writing code, it's nice to have a text editor that is
optimized for writing code, with features like automatic
color-coding of key words. The default text editor on Mac OS X and
Linux is usually set to Vim, which is not famous for being
intuitive. if you accidentally find yourself stuck in it, try
typing the escape key, followed by
:q! (colon, lower-case 'q',
exclamation mark), then hitting Return to return to the shell.
nano is a basic editor and the default that instructors use in the workshop. To install it, download the Software Carpentry Windows installer and double click on the file to run it. This installer requires an active internet connection.
nano is a basic editor and the default that instructors use in the workshop. It should be pre-installed.
Python is a popular language for scientific computing, and great for general-purpose programming as well. Installing all of its scientific packages individually can be a bit difficult, so we recommend an all-in-one installer.
Regardless of how you choose to install it, please make sure you install Python version 2.x and not version 3.x (e.g., 2.7 is fine but not 3.4). Python 3 introduced changes that will break some of the code we teach during the workshop.
We will show you how to use the IPython notebook, a programming environment that runs in a web browser. For this to work you will need a reasonably up-to-date browser. The current versions of the Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers are all supported (some older browsers, including Internet Explorer version 9 and below, are not).
We recommend the all-in-one scientific Python installer Anaconda. (Installation requires using the shell and if you aren't comfortable doing the installation yourself just download the installer and we'll help you at the workshop.)
bash Anaconda-and then press tab. The name of the file you just downloaded should appear.
yesand press enter to approve the license. Press enter to approve the default location for the files. Type
yesand press enter to prepend Anaconda to your
PATH(this makes the Anaconda distribution the default Python).
If you're affiliated with Western, instructions for how to install MATLAB on your laptop using the University's site license are here. These apply to all 3 of Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. If you're not affiliated with Western, you'll need to provide your own MATLAB setup. We'll be covering Python and MATLAB simultaneously so you only need to install the one that you expect to use.
SQL is a specialized programming language used with databases. We use a simple database manager called SQLite in our lessons.
The Software Carpentry Windows Installer installs SQLite for Windows. If you used the installer to configure nano, you don't need to run it again.
SQLite comes pre-installed on Mac OS X.
SQLite comes pre-installed on Linux.