Jan 2020 / Intro to Linux and Aalto Computing

This course is a general introduction to computing resources at Aalto, suitable as an introduction to any researcher doing somewhat computational or data-intensive work now or in the future. Aalto University is used in examples, but all parts are designed to be useful to others as well.

This course is especially suitable to new researchers or students trying to understand computational/data analysis options available to them. It won’t go into anything too deep, but will provide you with a good background for your next steps: you will know what resources are available and know the next steps to use them.

It consists of two parts:

  • Computing workflows: Your laptop. The national-level supercomputer. Everything in between. There are so many different ways to do your computing, and in this hour will introduce you to the different options and what kinds of work each are suited to. You’ll learn how they all interrelate and which can be easily used together. While we use Aalto University systems as an example, the talk is designed to be useful to any university: you will just need to find the equivalent tools at your university.

  • Basic Linux shell: Shell and command line (on Linux or on other operating systems) is the basis of next-level computing, and knowing a little bit will go a long way in your career even if you don’t use it on a daily basis. This introduction will make you confident enough to take any other computing courses you may need in the future, and give you the first steps to automating your work and making it reproducible. This is not Aalto specific. This is a good intro to the Winter HPC Kickstart that comes next (but still useful on its own).

Attending individual sessions is fine.


  • No prerequisites, you can just watch.

  • For the second part, it is convenient if you have access to a bash shell. See instructions below for how we can provide this - but just listening is fine too.

  • You can’t try out some of our services without an Aalto account, but that won’t affect attending this event.

Part of Scientific Computing in Practice lecture series at Aalto University.

Practical information

This is an online course streamed via Twitch (the CodeRefinery channel) so that anyone may follow along without registration. Registering will get you information from the organizers and a Zoom link for further Q&A and discussion. There will also be an anonymous HackMD link (collaborative edited notes) which is used for asking questions during the lectures.

Instructors and organizers:

  • Richard Darst

  • Enrico Glerean

Time, date, place: (all times EET):


Please register at this link We aim to not require registration if you will be only passively watching. Lurkers welcome. Priority for Finnish academic institutions (FGCI members).

Credits: Certificates are not provided for this course.

Additional course info at: scip@aalto.fi


Software installation:

  • You will need the BASH shell. This is the basic of automating almost anything, so is useful to have on your computer.

    • Linux: Open the Terminal application and type: bash

    • MacOS: Open the Terminal application and type: bash

    • Windows:

      • If you have an Aalto account, download PuTTY and use it to connect to kosh.aalto.fi (see this screenshot). Use your Aalto username and password to login. After login, type: bash

      • If you have Windows 10 and admin rights, you can install Ubuntu through the Microsoft Store. Then, start the Ubuntu application and type: bash

      • If you don’t have an Aalto account, and no Windows 10 with admin rights, you can install Git BASH by following these instructions.

    • If all the above fails, the backup plan is to use BASH through your web browser by clicking here.

  • Zoom (if attending via Zoom)

Mental preparation: Online workshops can be a productive format, but it takes some effort to get ready. Browse these resources:

Community standards

We hope to make a good learning environment for everyone, and expect everyone to do their part for this. If there is anything we can do to support that, let us know.

If there is anything wrong, tell us right away - if you need to contact us privately, you can message the host on Zoom or contact us outside the course. This could be as simple as “speak louder / text on screen is unreadable / go slower” or as complex as “someone is distracting our group by discussing too advanced things”.


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