Software Carpentry

Helping scientists make better software since 1997

Archive for June 2009

Quality Control and Traceability

Nature News recently reported work by Gurt Vriend at other to clean up records in the widely-used Protein Data Bank (PDB).  This is great news, but what’s missing is a way to track forward from entries to see what already-published papers have relied on data that’s now known to be incorrect.  One of the many goals of this course is to give scientists the understanding they need to tackle this problem.


Written by Greg Wilson

2009/06/29 at 14:19

Posted in Content, Noticed

The Environmental e-Science Revolution

Steve Easterbrook has summarized some papers from a recent Royal Society workshop on how the web is changing the way environmental science is done.  We’ll be asking students in the Software Carpentry course how much of this they’re doing, and how much they would like to.

Written by Greg Wilson

2009/06/29 at 14:08

Posted in Noticed

Ready for Proofreading

We’re ready for feedback — if you check out the new slides at, you’ll see a little feedback bubble at the bottom of each topic.  Clicking that will give you a chance to send us email to tell us about formatting glitches, factual errors, or anything else you’d like fixed.  Please let us know what you think…

Written by Greg Wilson

2009/06/29 at 13:35

Posted in Lectures, Version 3

Updating the License

In response to several requests, we have updated the license on the course material: the course content is now covered by the Creative Commons Attribution license, while the example code is (still) covered by an open source MIT license.  In plain English, this means that you can re-use course content however you want, as long as you give us credit.

Written by Greg Wilson

2009/06/25 at 18:41

Posted in Lectures, Version 3

Topics and Schedule

A draft schedule for the July 13-31 offering of the course is now available.  We’d welcome your feedback: does this order make sense, are there topics we’ve included that you don’t care about, have we left out anything really important (and if so, what should we drop to make room for it), etc.

Written by Greg Wilson

2009/06/24 at 11:18

Posted in Alberta, Toronto, Version 3

Another New Version of the Slides

A new(er) version of the slides has been posted at that includes styling changes courtesy of Ryan Feeley. There are still many minor formatting glitches; we’ll fix them in the coming week, and post a schedule showing which lectures are going to be given when.

We’ve also updated the Guest Speakers page with bios and abstracts for the people who’ll be talking at the MaRS Centre in Toronto on July 29.  Talks will run 1-6 pm, and will be followed by a wine and cheese.  The event is free, but will require advance registration—we’ll post details here as soon as we have them.

Written by Greg Wilson

2009/06/23 at 17:16

Posted in Lectures, Version 3

And Speaking of Sightings…

A new (but very rough) version of the slides for the course is now up at  This uses Eric Meyer’s S5 package for formatting and pagination (along with a short Python script to insert cross-references).  We were planning to use LaTeX, but after messing around with packages, dependencies, and the like, HTML started to look at lot simpler.  We still have a lot of reformatting to do (particularly with tables and code inclusions); if you’d like to help, or if you are a CSS expert and can help make the slides look good with Internet Explorer (right now they’re styled for Firefox), please let us know.

Written by Greg Wilson

2009/06/15 at 20:17

Posted in Lectures, Version 3