Scientific work generally, and synthesis work specifically, very often requires dealing with diverse and messy data. Many scientists cobble together computing solutions to address immediate needs for data management, processing, and analysis, but could greatly increase productivity (and ease suffering!) through an understanding of basic principles of software engineering. Unfortunately, most scientists do not receive coherent training in the scientific programming concepts and techniques that are critical to their success.
That’s where the Software Carpentry team—a volunteer group of scientists and experienced software developers that trains scientists in basic programming and software best practices to advance their research—comes in.
The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) will bring faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and other lab members who are actively working on computational and data-related research projects together to attend a four-day Software Carpentry boot camp. The boot camp will be taught by certified instructors from the Software Carpentry team and will cover basic scientific computing topics including:
- using command line/shell for automating tasks and redirecting output;
- version control for tracking provenance and collaborating with others on code development;
- automated testing to ensure that code is functioning as expected;
- basics of python programming which can accelerate tasks in many software packages (e.g., ArcGIS, SQL, R); and
- potentially one or two other topics depending on participant interest.