Allison Mason, Lisa Levinson, Sarah Arcos
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aims to help researchers get their work done
in less time and with less pain
by teaching them basic research computing skills.
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.
This is a pilot workshop, testing out a lesson that is still under development. The lesson authors would appreciate any feedback you can give them about the lesson content and suggestions for how it could be further improved.
The course is aimed at graduate students and other researchers.
You don't need to have any previous knowledge of the tools
that will be presented at the workshop.
Participants must bring a laptop with a
Mac, Linux, or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.) that they have administrative privileges on.
They should have a few specific software packages installed (listed below).
We are committed to making this workshop
accessible to everybody. For workshops at a physical location, the workshop organizers have checked that:
The room is wheelchair / scooter accessible.
Accessible restrooms are available.
Materials will be provided in advance of the workshop and
large-print handouts are available if needed by notifying the
organizers in advance. If we can help making learning easier for
you (e.g. sign-language interpreters, lactation facilities) please
get in touch (using contact details below) and we will
attempt to provide them.
The lesson taught in this workshop is being piloted and a precise schedule is yet to be established. The workshop will include regular breaks. Please contact the workshop organisers if you would like more information about the planned schedule.
To participate in a
you will need access to software as described below.
In addition, you will need an up-to-date web browser.
Click on "Next" four times (two times if you've previously
installed Git). You don't need to change anything
in the Information, location, components, and start menu screens.
From the dropdown menu, "Choosing the default editor used by Git", select "Use the Nano editor by default" (NOTE: you will need to scroll up to find it) and click on "Next".
On the page that says "Adjusting the name of the initial branch in new repositories", ensure that
"Let Git decide" is selected. This will ensure the highest level of compatibility for our lessons.
Ensure that "Git from the command line and also from 3rd-party software" is selected and
click on "Next". (If you don't do this Git Bash will not work properly, requiring you to
remove the Git Bash installation, re-run the installer and to select the "Git from the
command line and also from 3rd-party software" option.)
Select "Use bundled OpenSSH".
Ensure that "Use the native Windows Secure Channel Library" is selected and click on "Next".
Ensure that "Checkout Windows-style, commit Unix-style line endings" is selected and click on "Next".
Ensure that "Use Windows' default console window" is selected and click on "Next".
Ensure that "Default (fast-forward or merge) is selected and click "Next"
Ensure that "Git Credential Manager" is selected and click on "Next".
Ensure that "Enable file system caching" is selected and click on "Next".
Click on "Install".
Click on "Finish" or "Next".
If your "HOME" environment variable is not set (or you don't know what this is):
Open command prompt (Open Start Menu then type cmd and press Enter)
Type the following line into the command prompt window exactly as shown:
setx HOME "%USERPROFILE%"
Press Enter, you should see SUCCESS: Specified value was saved.
Quit command prompt by typing exit then pressing Enter
This will provide you with both Git and Bash in the Git Bash program.
The default shell in some versions of macOS is Bash, and
Bash is available in all versions, so no need to install anything.
You access Bash from the Terminal (found in
See the Git installation video tutorial
for an example on how to open the Terminal.
You may want to keep Terminal in your dock for this workshop.
To see if your default shell is Bash type echo $SHELL
in Terminal and press the Return key. If the message
printed does not end with '/bash' then your default is something
else and you can run Bash by typing bash
If you want to change your default shell, see
this Apple Support article and follow the instructions on "How to change your default shell".
The default shell is usually Bash and there is usually no need to
To see if your default shell is Bash type echo $SHELL in
a terminal and press the Enter key. If the message printed
does not end with '/bash' then your default is something else and you
can run Bash by typing bash.
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
You will need an account at github.com
for parts of the Git lesson. Basic GitHub accounts are free. We encourage
you to create a GitHub account if you don't have one already.
Please consider what personal information you'd like to reveal. For
example, you may want to review these
for keeping your email address private provided at GitHub.
For macOS, install Git for Mac
by downloading and running the most recent "mavericks" installer from
Because this installer is not signed by the developer, you may have to
right click (control click) on the .pkg file, click Open, and click
Open on the pop up window.
After installing Git, there will not be anything in your /Applications folder,
as Git is a command line program.
For older versions of OS X (10.5-10.8) use the
most recent available installer labelled "snow-leopard"
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 dnf 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 macOS and
Linux is usually set to Vim, which is not famous for being
intuitive. If you accidentally find yourself stuck in it, hit
the Esc key, followed by :+Q+!
(colon, lower-case 'q', exclamation mark), then hitting Return to
return to the shell.
Install R by downloading and running
this .exe file
Also, please install the
Note that if you have separate user and admin accounts, you should run the
installers as administrator (right-click on .exe file and select "Run as
administrator" instead of double-clicking). Otherwise problems may occur later,
for example when installing R packages.
Instructions for R installation on various Linux platforms (debian,
fedora, redhat, and ubuntu) can be found at
<https://cran.r-project.org/bin/linux/>. These will instruct you to
use your package manager (e.g. for Fedora run
sudo dnf install R and for Debian/Ubuntu, add a ppa
repository and then run sudo apt-get install r-base).
Also, please install the