Command Line: Introduction

beginner bash hpc data science


Using the command line (aka Unix shell, or terminal) is fundamental to using both your computer and more powerful cloud and cluster computational resources effectively. Whether using Quest (Northwestern’s high performance computer cluster), managing software and package installations locally, interacting with databases, using version control systems like git, or running machine learning models in the cloud, being comfortable with the command line will open up new computational possibilities.

Things you’ll learn in this workshop

Base workshop:

  • Navigate a file system (pwd, cd)
  • List information about files and directories (ls)
  • Create, copy, move, and delete files (touch, cp, mv, rm)
  • Edit files and view their contents (head, cat, vi)

Longer (2+ hour) workshops:

  • Combine commands with pipes
  • Find files and things in files (find, grep)



Required Software and Files

Bash Shell

Download this zip file, unzip it, and move the unzipped folder to your desktop.

Can’t Attend?

This workshop is offered quarterly on the Evanston campus, and at least in the fall and spring on the Chicago campus.

The workshop is based on Software Carpentry: The Unix Shell. All of the materials are available online for you to work through on your own.