May 31, 2015

EPSCoR Sponsors Software Carpentry Workshop

By Ryan Johnson

In early May, NM EPSCoR sponsored a Software Carpentry Workshop at UNM. Software Carpentry is a volunteer organization whose goal is to make scientists more productive, and their work more reliable, by teaching them basic computing skills. This example-driven two-day workshop taught core computing skills to help participants be more productive and effective, alternating short tutorials with hands-on practical exercises. Participants were encouraged to help one another and to apply what learned to their own research problems during the workshop. Participant Ryan Johnson, PhD from the Center for Advanced Research Computing wrote about his experience at the workshop for our blog.

On May 11-12 UNM students and professors participated in an intensive workshop on the basics of scientific computing put on by Software Carpentry ( and sponsored by NM EPSCoR. Taught by Christina Koch from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Jonathan Gross from the University of New Mexico, participants were instructed in the fundamental tools necessary for excellence in scientific computing. Topics included basic command line computing, programming with the iPython Notebook, version control using git and github, as well as basic workflow strategies to take data from analysis and visualization through to presentation and publication.

The packed room of eager students, fueled on coffee, bagels and cookies, highlighted the strong need to use computing in modern scientific research. The impressive and refined "hands on" curriculum from Software Carpentry, talented instructors and friendly support from a team from UNM Libraries all came together into a wonderful workshop bound to have a lasting impact on the work of everyone involved.