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Federal Reserve Board

June 29-30, 2016

8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Instructors: Auriel Fournier, Chris Hamm

Helpers: TBD

General Information

Software Carpentry's mission is to help scientists and engineers get more research done in less time and with less pain by teaching them basic lab skills for scientific computing. 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: This workshop is for research and technical personnel at the US Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Registration is limited to current employees of the Federal Reserve Board.

Where: 1709 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006. Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

Requirements: Participants must register for the workshop through the Federal Reserve Board's internal systems. Any participant who does not have the software installed on their work computer should contact IT for assistance. They are also required to abide by Software Carpentry's Code of Conduct.

Contact: Please mail for more information.



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

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey

Day 1

Morning Automating tasks with the Unix shell
Afternoon Building programs with R

Day 2

Morning Version control with Git
Afternoon Additional R Material


The Unix Shell

  • Files and directories
  • History and tab completion
  • Pipes and redirection
  • Looping over files
  • Creating and running shell scripts
  • Finding things
  • Reference...

Programming in R

  • Working with vectors and data frames
  • Reading and plotting data
  • Creating and using functions
  • Loops and conditionals
  • Using R from the command line
  • Reference...

Version Control with Git

  • Creating a repository
  • Recording changes to files: add, commit, ...
  • Viewing changes: status, diff, ...
  • Ignoring files
  • Working on the web: clone, pull, push, ...
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Open licenses
  • Where to host work, and why
  • Reference...


For this workshop, the Federal Reserve Board IT staff have installed the necessary software onto the training room computers. If you do not have these programs on your work computer, please contact IT directly. If you would like to follow-up on the workshop lessons at home, you will need working copies of R, RStudio, Firefox Browser, the SQLite plug-in for Firefox, and OpenRefine.

To install these programs on a personal computer (not owned by the Federal Reserve Board), please follow these Setup Instructions.

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.