The Real Purpose of Sprints

This post originally appeared on the Software Carpentry website.

"The real purpose of sprints isn't the code, it's getting to know people..." This is what Greg Wilson told me after the first-ever Mozilla Science Lab global sprint. Indeed, over the course of two days, dozens of people all over the world met virtually and in person to develop and improve Software Carpentry teaching materials, infrastructure and a number of MSL-related projects.

I was a part of the team in Krakow which focused mainly on the development of training materials for Data Carpenty. Over the course of two days we worked on new material for using the Python and pandas library for data manipulation. We also contributed to expanding lessons for working with data in spreadsheets. Two of us reviewed the lessons on shell. And we also added to the material on using matplotlib. One of the member of Krakow's group, Piotr Banaszkiewicz worked on his own project: A Web-Based Tool for Peer Instruction.

The Krakow team was lead by Klemens Noga (Cyfronet AGH) and Leszek Tarkowski ( The other seven participants were Piotr Banaszkiewicz, Iwona Grelowska, and Tomasz Jonak (all from AGH University of Science and Technology), Maciek Czuchry (Cyfronet AGH), Sebastian Kupny (Jagiellonian University), Aleksandra Pawlik (Software Sustainability Institute) and Lukasz Zosiak (ABB Stotz-Kontakt GmbH). On the first day, the sprint was hosted by Academic Computing Centre Cyfronet, where we also worked in the morning on the second day. For the last four hours of the sprint we moved to Ambasada Krakowian, the headquarters of four NGOs, located in the heart of Krakow's Old Town.

On the first day of the sprint Klemens Noga arranged a tour round for all participants to see Cyfronet's supercomputer Zeus. Zeus is noted in the famous Top 500 ranking and allows hundreds of researchers to run the code which advances their research.

The Mozilla Science Lab sprint is over but the work carries on. The event was a real boost and we got a lot of stuff done. Apart from meeting new people, the sprint was also a great opportunity to gain more confidence and encouragement to contribute to the current and new projects.

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