IIDA Conference Center

Oct 17, 2019

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Instructors: Becca Love, Dave Welch

Helpers: Jeremy Freeman, Nick Sofroniev, Ambrose Carr, Sidney Bell

General Information

Software Carpentry 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.

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 and other researchers. You don't need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop.

Where: 111 E. Wacker Drive, Suite 222, Chicago, IL 60601. Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

When: Oct 17, 2019. Add to your Google Calendar.

Requirements: 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).

Code of Conduct: Everyone who participates in Carpentries activities is required to conform to the Code of Conduct. This document also outlines how to report an incident if needed.

Accessibility: We are committed to making this workshop accessible to everybody. The workshop organizers have checked that:

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.

Contact: Please email margaret.sutherland@chanzuckerberg.com or aclavijo@chanzuckerberg.com for more information.


Please be sure to complete these surveys before and after the workshop.

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey


Before Pre-workshop survey
Setup Download files required for the lesson
09:00 1. Running and Quitting How can I run Python programs?
09:15 2. Variables and Assignment How can I store data in programs?
09:35 3. Data Types and Type Conversion What kinds of data do programs store?
How can I convert one type to another?
09:55 4. Built-in Functions and Help How can I use built-in functions?
How can I find out what they do?
What kind of errors can occur in programs?
10:20 5. Morning Coffee Break
10:35 6. Libraries How can I use software that other people have written?
How can I find out what that software does?
10:55 7. Reading Tabular Data into DataFrames How can I read tabular data?
11:15 8. Pandas DataFrames How can I do statistical analysis of tabular data?
11:45 9. Plotting How can I plot my data?
How can I save my plot for publishing?
12:15 10. Lunch Break
13:00 11. Lists How can I store multiple values?
13:20 12. For Loops How can I make a program do many things?
13:45 13. Looping Over Data Sets How can I process many data sets with a single command?
14:00 14. Writing Functions How can I create my own functions?
14:25 15. Variable Scope How do function calls actually work?
How can I determine where errors occurred?
14:45 16. Afternoon Coffee Break
15:00 17. Conditionals How can programs do different things for different data?
15:25 18. Programming Style How can I make my programs more readable?
How do most programmers format their code?
How can programs check their own operation?
15:55 19. Wrap-Up What have we learned?
What else is out there and where do I find it?
16:15 20. Feedback How did the class go?
16:30 Finish

We will use this collaborative document for chatting, taking notes, and sharing URLs and bits of code.


Programming in Python


This workshop has custom installation instructions.

In addition, 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.

  1. Open https://www.anaconda.com/download/#linux with your web browser.
  2. Download the Python 3 installer for Linux.
    (The installation requires using the shell. If you aren't comfortable doing the installation yourself stop here and request help at the workshop.)
  3. Open a terminal window.
  4. Type
    bash Anaconda3-
    and then press Tab. The name of the file you just downloaded should appear. If it does not, navigate to the folder where you downloaded the file, for example with:
    cd Downloads
    Then, try again.
  5. Press Return. You will follow the text-only prompts. To move through the text, press Spacebar. Type yes and press enter to approve the license. Press enter to approve the default location for the files. Type yes and press enter to prepend Anaconda to your PATH (this makes the Anaconda distribution the default Python).
  6. Close the terminal window.