Research Computing in Earth Sciences (EESC-GR6901)


Kerry Key
Dept. of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Office: Oceanography 305C, LDEO
Phone: 845 365-8604
Office Hours: By appointment

Ryan Abernathey
Dept. of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Office: Oceanography 205C, LDEO
Phone: 845 365-8185
Office Hours: By appointment

Takaya Uchida
Dept. of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Email: Office Hours: Tuesday, 6-7 PM

Class Time: Tuesday / Thursday 10:10-11:25

Location: 417 SCH

Overview: Computing has become an indispensable tool for Earth Scientists. This course will introduce incoming LDEO graduate students to modern computing software, programming tools and best practices that are broadly applicable to carrying out research in the Earth sciences. This includes an introduction to Unix, programming in three commonly used languages (Python, MATLAB and Fortran), version control and data backup, and tools for visualizing geoscience data and making maps. Students will learn the basics of high performance computing and big data analysis tools available on cluster computers. Student learning will be facilitated through a combination of lectures, in-class exercises, homework assignments and class projects. All topics will be taught through example datasets or problems from Earth Sciences. The course is designed to be accessible for Earth Science graduate students in any discipline.

Course Structure: The course will meet twice a week. New material will be presented by the instructors on Thursday, with an assignment due the following week (students will work in pairs). On Tuesday, the classroom will be “flipped”: one group will be selected randomly to present their assignment in progress. Tuesday class time will be devoted to discussing / critiquing their work, interactive in-class work on the assignment, and one-on-one interaction between students and instructors.

Textbook: There is no required textbook. Readings will be freely available from online resources made available through the course website.

Computers: Students are required to have a laptop available to bring to class to work on the assignments and learning the material. Students will also be given an educational account on the Habanero cluster computer.

Grading: Weekly assignment (50%), assignment presentation (10%), final project (40%)