Software Carpentry Version 4 is a Go!

This post originally appeared on the Software Carpentry website.

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 members:

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 us by email at or as swcarpentry on Skype.

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