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aims to help researchers get their work done
in less time and with less pain
by teaching them basic research computing skills.
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.
Participants must have access to a computer with a
Mac, Linux, or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.) that they have administrative privileges on.
They should have a few specific software packages installed (listed below).
We are dedicated to providing a positive and accessible learning environment for all. The workshop will take place on Zoom and captioning will be available. Recordings will not be available.
Please notify the instructors in advance of the workshop if you require any accommodations or if there is
anything we can do to make this workshop more accessible to you, such as written notes or recordings.
This course aims to teach you how to access and use the Myriad computing cluster at UCL - how to access Myriad, transfer files on and off the cluster, find and use relevant software and run your own code. We do not cover how to program for High Performance Computing.
We will cover the following topics:
The Unix Shell
Introducing the Shell
Navigating Files and Directories
Working With Files and Directories
Pipes and Filters
Introduction to High-Performance Computing
Working on a remote HPC system
Connecting to a remote HPC system
Exploring Remote Resources
Accessing software via Modules
Transferring files with remote computers
Running a parallel job
Using resources effectively
Using shared resources responsibly
If you want to learn more about how HPCs work and how to wrote code optimised for parallel computing, we recommend the ARCHER2 training courses. Check the 'Course Descriptions' for suggestions of what courses would be appropriate for your level, and if there isn't an upcoming live course suitable for you you can watch recordings of previous courses on their YouTube channel.
If you haven't used Zoom before, go to the
to download and install the Zoom client for your computer.
Set up your workspace
Like other Carpentries workshops,
you will be learning by "coding along" with the Instructors.
To do this, you will need to have both the window for the tool
you will be learning about (a terminal, RStudio, your web browser, etc..)
and the window for the Zoom video conference client open.
In order to see both at once,
we recommend using one of the following set up options:
Two monitors: If you have two monitors,
plan to have the tool you are learning up on one monitor and
the video conferencing software on the other.
Two devices: If you don't have two monitors,
do you have another device (tablet, smartphone) with a medium to large
sized screen? If so, try using the smaller device as your video
conference connection and your larger device (laptop or desktop)
to follow along with the tool you will be learning about.
Divide your screen: If you only have one device
and one screen, practice having two windows
(the video conference program and one of the tools you will be using
at the workshop) open together.
How can you best fit both on your screen?
Will it work better for you to toggle between them
using a keyboard shortcut?
Try it out in advance to decide what will work best for you.
This blog post includes detailed information on how to set up your screen to follow along during the workshop.
Click on "Next" four times (two times if you've previously
installed Git). You don't need to change anything
in the Information, location, components, and start menu screens.
From the dropdown menu, "Choosing the default editor used by Git", select "Use the Nano editor by default" (NOTE: you will need to scroll up to find it) and click on "Next".
On the page that says "Adjusting the name of the initial branch in new repositories", ensure that
"Let Git decide" is selected. This will ensure the highest level of compatibility for our lessons.
Ensure that "Git from the command line and also from 3rd-party software" is selected and
click on "Next". (If you don't do this Git Bash will not work properly, requiring you to
remove the Git Bash installation, re-run the installer and to select the "Git from the
command line and also from 3rd-party software" option.)
Select "Use bundled OpenSSH".
Ensure that "Use the native Windows Secure Channel Library" is selected and click on "Next".
Ensure that "Checkout Windows-style, commit Unix-style line endings" is selected and click on "Next".
Ensure that "Use Windows' default console window" is selected and click on "Next".
Ensure that "Default (fast-forward or merge) is selected and click "Next"
Ensure that "Git Credential Manager" is selected and click on "Next".
Ensure that "Enable file system caching" is selected and click on "Next".
Click on "Install".
Click on "Finish" or "Next".
If your "HOME" environment variable is not set (or you don't know what this is):
Open command prompt (Open Start Menu then type cmd and press Enter)
Type the following line into the command prompt window exactly as shown:
setx HOME "%USERPROFILE%"
Press Enter, you should see SUCCESS: Specified value was saved.
Quit command prompt by typing exit then pressing Enter
This will provide you with both Git and Bash in the Git Bash program.
The default shell in some versions of macOS is Bash, and
Bash is available in all versions, so no need to install anything.
You access Bash from the Terminal (found in
See the Git installation video tutorial
for an example on how to open the Terminal.
You may want to keep Terminal in your dock for this workshop.
To see if your default shell is Bash type echo $SHELL
in Terminal and press the Return key. If the message
printed does not end with '/bash' then your default is something
else and you can run Bash by typing bash
If you want to change your default shell, see
this Apple Support article and follow the instructions on "How to change your default shell".
The default shell is usually Bash and there is usually no need to
To see if your default shell is Bash type echo $SHELL in
a terminal and press the Enter key. If the message printed
does not end with '/bash' then your default is something else and you
can run Bash by typing bash.
SSH is a tool that allows us to connect to and use a remote computer as our own.
Please follow the directions below to install an SSH client for your system.
macOS: Although macOS comes with SSH pre-installed, you will need to install XQuartz to enable graphical support.
Note that you must restart your computer to complete the installation.
Linux: Linux users do not need to install anything, you will already have an SSH client.
When you're writing code, it's nice to have a text editor that is
optimized for writing code, with features like automatic
color-coding of key words. The default text editor on macOS and
Linux is usually set to Vim, which is not famous for being
intuitive. If you accidentally find yourself stuck in it, hit
the Esc key, followed by :+Q+!
(colon, lower-case 'q', exclamation mark), then hitting Return to
return to the shell.