Software Carpentry workshop for MAT at QMUL, Feb 2014

Teaching material and supplementary links

Day 1

Day 2

Other subjects not covered on the day, that may be of interest:

Other material from us

  • We offer a number of one-page info sheets on topics related to this workshop
  • This very site,, is a code hosting site for projects by UK-based audio and music researchers. If you're interested in audio and music, please do register and make use of it! Repository hosting uses Mercurial, and your projects can be public or private.

Links about the software in the workshop

  • The SciPy Superpack is a good way to get Python packages installed on OS/X
  • There are at least two bundled distributions of Python with scientific libraries and visualisation modules, which you can use to install a complete working Python system: Anaconda and Canopy. These come from different companies but they are both distributions of the same (open source) libraries, and are completely compatible when it comes to running your own code.

Topical links

Unix and shell

To use Unix commands on a Windows machine, you will need to install additional software (e.g. MinGW or Cygwin).
NB: Cygwin doesn't install nano, Python or Mercurial by default - they need to be selected in the setup.

The Windows command prompt and powershell provide similar facilities to the Unix shell, but with different commands and syntax! Of the two, the command prompt is very similar to the basic Unix tools we introduced, but Powershell is more powerful.

If you own an android tablet or phone, then that is a Unix device. It doesn't come with a command prompt by default, but you can install one. NB: this may be dangerous for your device!

If you want to try a full Unix system, then VirtualBox can be used to create a "virtual machine" - a fake computer that runs inside your normal session. You can then install a Linux distribution on that virtual machine.


Lots of code editors will do syntax highlighting for python.

  • Spyder -- "Matlab-like" interface
  • PyCharm -- cross-platform, 30 day free trial, ca. £25 for academic licence
  • Lots more here

Version Control

On Windows, TortoiseHg provides an alternative interface to Mercurial - you can right-click files in Windows Explorer. It's more techy than EasyMercurial!

Schedules etc


  • Day 1: Afternoon of 12th February 2014 -- MAT lab
  • Day 2: Afternoon of 26th March 2014 -- MAT lab


Day 1

This is the actual schedule, i.e. with timings as they were on the day.

Official slot 13.00-17.00.

Attendance 18/22.

  • Start - 13.05
  • Short intro - Chris - 13.05 to 13.10
  • Shell - Steve - 13.10 to 14.40
  • Break - 14.40 to 15.10
  • Version control - Chris - 15.10 to 16.50
  • End - 16.50

Day 2

Provisional schedule.

Official slot 13.00-17.00.

  • Start - 13.05
  • Python - Bogdan - 13.05 to 14.40
  • Break - 14.45 to 15.15
  • Python and NumPy - Bogdan - 15.20 to 16.30
  • End - 16.30