Software Carpentry

Helping scientists make better software since 1997

Software Carpentry Version 4 is a Go!

I am very excited to announce that I am going to work full-time on revising the Software Carpentry course from May 2010 to May 2011. This work has been made possible by the generosity of our sponsors:

I would also like to thank The MathWorks, the University of Toronto, the Python Software Foundation, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, whose support over the past 13 years has allowed us to help scientists use computers more productively.

Version 4 of Software Carpentry will improve on its predecessors in three significant ways. First, the content will be reorganized and updated to better meet scientists’ needs. As with Version 3,  a typical graduate student or research scientist should be able to cover all of the material in a regular one-term course with approximately 25 hours of lecture and 100-150 hours of exercises.

Second, we intend to provide parallel versions of the material in MATLAB and Python, so that scientists who already know numerical computing’s most popular scripting language can dive right into the parts that interest them most. We have been testing a MATLAB translation of the Version 3 notes this winter with good results, and are grateful to the students at the University of Toronto who have tried them out and given us feedback.

Third, and most importantly, Version 4 of the course will be designed so that students can work through most or all of the material on their own, at their own pace, when they need it. To do this, we will make video recordings of the lectures available, along with screencasts and interactive examples, and provide over-the-web support via email, Skype, and desktop sharing to help early adopters when they run into roadblocks. We hope that this will allow us to reach, and help, many more people that would otherwise be possible.

Software Carpentry is an open project: all of the materials are available under the Creative Commons Attribution license, and can be freely shared and remixed provided you include a citation. If you would like to help us help scientists be more productive, please contact Greg Wilson by email at or as gregory_v_wilson on Skype.


Written by Greg Wilson

2010/03/25 at 17:20

Posted in Version 4

12 Responses

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  1. […] work full-time on revising the Software Carpentry course from May 2010 to May 2011. Please see the full announcement for […]

  2. Great news, Greg! Congratulations and best of luck with Version 4.

    Ned Gulley

    2010/03/25 at 18:40

  3. Without intending to slight Matlab nor the unbelievable contributions people make using it, I’d thought that part of the intent of the course was to give scientists and engineers exposure to something besides Matlab. Having the Matlab option will merely reinforce the Matlab-is-a-hammer-and-everything-a-nail that pervades undergraduate engineering curriculum and causes incoming graduate students to know nothing else.

    Rhys Ulerich

    2010/03/25 at 21:30

  4. Rhys, let’s rewrite it in R or Sage then?


    2010/03/26 at 00:07

    • I’m planning to give a mini-SC course to statisticians this summer, and will use R for that.

      Davor Cubranic

      2010/03/26 at 19:01

  5. @Rhys @Neil I hope that students will come out of this course understanding that no one tool — MATLAB, Python, C, whatever — is right for all situations. Even Perl has its place… 🙂

    Greg Wilson

    2010/03/26 at 00:30

  6. Congratulations Greg. That’s great news (mostly for all of scientists who are marginal programmers :)).

    Ethan White

    2010/03/26 at 01:22

  7. […] March 26, 2010 at 8:30 pm | In Uncategorized | Leave a Comment As the announcement of Version 4 said, Software Carpentry is being redesigned so that it can be delivered in several ways. I want to […]

  8. This sounds great, I was tempted to put a proposal together for GSOC 2010 to help out but my summer is shaping up to be crazy enough as is!


    2010/03/28 at 02:43

  9. […] that Software Carpentry Version 4 is a go, I’ve moved most blogging about scientific software development over to […]

  10. That’s excellent, congratulations!

    Doug Hellmann

    2010/04/06 at 18:40

  11. […] 7 comments As I said in last week’s announcement, and mentioned again in a later post, one of the main goals of this rewrite is to make it possible […]

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