August 2023 / Linux Shell Basics

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

Audience: Scientists, researchers, and others looking for an extensive intro into Linux shell / terminal. Primary audience is academics in Finland, outsiders are welcome to register and are accepted if there is space (there always is space).

About the course: The Linux shell lets you work efficiently on remote computers and automate bigger projects - whether you are managing a lot of data or running programs on a computer cluster. Without it, you are often stuck when you need to do move beyond basic tools like Jupyter notebooks. This course covers the Bash shell, but the principles apply to other shells such as zsh.

This course will cover the basics so that you’ll know what the shell is, are comfortable using it for your own projects, and are able to attend other courses with the shell as a prerequisite. We’ll get familiar with the command line, files and directories, and other things you often find in shell environments. We will unleash the power of that blinking cursor in the terminal window. Windows/Mac/Linux users are warmly welcome - regardless of what you use on your desktop, you’ll need this when using more powerful remote computers.

We will start with somewhat basics like files and processes and go up to command line magic like redirections and pipes. This should be enough to get started with the Linux terminal.

There is an advanced part of this course given later in the spring which will go through scripting and automation in more detail (part 2 in the material).

Lecturer: Ivan Tervanto, D. Sc., Science IT / Department of Applied Physics, Aalto University

Time, date, place: the course consists of three hands-on sessions (3h each), via Zoom. On-site option is possible if there is enough interest from course participants.

On-site: (not given this year)

Zoom: link to be posted to the registered participants list

  • Tue 29.8 12:00-15:00

  • Wed 30.8 12:00-15:00

  • Thu 31.8 12:00-15:00

Course material: will be mostly based on the first part of

Cost: Free!

Registration: Please register here

Credits/certificate: It is not possible to obtain certificates or credits for this course.

Required setup: During the tutorials we’ll use a terminal with a BASH shell, means that either you have a Linux/Mac computer at your place or a Windows PC with the Git BASH, or VDI to a Linux, or SSH client installed for accessing any of Linux server. If you are at Aalto university you can run ssh to connect on a native Linux shell. Other servers are listed here . If you are at University of Helsinki, see the list of available SSH linux servers at this link. We will cover ssh connections at the beginning of the first day.

Additional course info at: scip -at-

What’s next?: After this course, check out CodeRefinery, 19-21 and 26-28 September 2023. CodeRefinery is the next step in scientific programming, not teaching programming but the tools to do it comfortable and without wasting time on problems.