07, January 2016: Nearly every field of science has a significant computational component -- but few working scientists have been trained as programmers. Universities are adapting, but not nearly as fast as the sciences are exploding with new applications. Simulation, data mining, bioinformatics -- these are the fields that are driving innovation in physics, astronomy, biology, and medicine. New tools and techniques are being developed every day, but we need more scientists with the interdisciplinary skills necessary to harness them.
A new video course called “Learn the Command Line … for Science!” is calling for backers on the crowd funding site Kickstarter.com. This class will walk trained scientists through the basics of using the command line interface, an absolute requirement to run scientific applications and take advantage of high performance computing resources. It’s also great preparation for learning to code, and eventually contribute new and novel tools to computational science.
The class is being developed by Brian David Hall, a Computer Science instructor with experience doing bioinformatics for the USDA. The course is upbeat, fast-paced and targeted at the needs of working scientists. It goes into detail where necessary -- for example, covering how to install software and download datasets from the command line -- but it skips topics which are less relevant to scientists, such as the system administration tasks emphasized by other command line courses.
Kickstarter campaigns operate under an “all-or-nothing” funding model, so if “Learn the Command Line … for Science!” doesn’t reach its funding goal of $1,500 after 30 days then Brian gets no funding, and nobody gets to take the course! Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@_bruab_) to stay up to date on the project’s progress, and help spread the word to your social media networks. Just $5 is enough to become a backer of this project. For Science!
The campaign can be viewed at http://kck.st/1R7BOIn