Many thanks to Weijian Zhang for his excellent introduction to version control with Git. The room was almost packed out- whether this was entirely owing to interest in version control, or the pile of chocolate biscuits on offer, I couldn’t possibly say- but there was a great informal, interactive atmosphere in the seminar. Most of the room (myself included) were trying out Git for the first time on their laptops, with Weijian and more experienced users in the room fielding questions.
Created by Linux godfather Linus Torvald (apparently over the course of a weekend in response to the loss of access to BitKeeper), Git is now one of the most widely used systems for software version management, as well as being used for countless personal coding projects. Definitely a useful tool for the modern mathematician to have, if not the most glamorous. Speaking to attendees afterwards, however, I found lots of people enthusiastic to go away and start introducing Git to their workflow- we might even run a follow up seminar! Who knew there was such enthusiasm for version control in Alan Turing.
In the meantime, if you’re looking to learn more about Git, head to Github which has full documentation and example projects to help familiarise you with the language. Check out Bitbucket too as an alternative place to set up a remote repository for your projects. The University of Manchester also offers training on Git to staff and PhD students as part of its Research IT support programme; details here (University of Manchester login required).
We’ll be announcing the next math.seminar soon, on creating vector graphics with Inkscape, so watch this space!