Greg Wilson

Helping scientists build better software since 1997

Toronto, Ontario

Areas of Expertise:

  • education
  • computational science
  • software engineering
  • speaking
  • training
Greg Wilson has worked on high-performance scientific computing, data visualization, and computer security, and is currently project lead at Software Carpentry. Greg has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh, and has written and edited several technical and children's books, including the Jolt Award winner Beautiful Code (O'Reilly, 2007).

Making Software Making Software
by Andy Oram, Greg Wilson
October 2010
Print: $44.99
Ebook: $35.99

Practical Programming Practical Programming (Pragmatic Bookshelf)
by Jennifer Campbell, Paul Gries, Jason Montojo, Greg Wilson
May 2009

Beautiful Code Beautiful Code
by Andy Oram, Greg Wilson
June 2007
Print: $44.99
Ebook: $35.99

Data Crunching Data Crunching (Pragmatic Bookshelf)
by Greg Wilson
April 2005

Greg blogs at:

Planning Our Summer Sprint

June 09 2014

As warm-up for our lab meeting on June 26, we have some more information to share about our two-day sprint in July. Please see our Etherpad for details, including more about sites and projects. Overview The goals of this global two-day sprint are… read more

Announcing June 2014 Lab Meeting

June 09 2014

The next of our monthly online lab meetings will take place on Thursday, June 26, at 10:00 am and 7:00 pm Eastern time. (As always, we'll hold it twice to accommodate people's work schedules and time zones.) We will update this Etherpad with agenda items as… read more

Registration Open for Instructor Training in Norwich in October

June 09 2014

As we announced last week, we are running a two-day version of our instructor training course at The Genome Analysis Centre in Norwich, UK, on October 22-23, 2014. Registration is now open, and we look hope to see you there. read more

ARCHER Software Carpentry boot camp and Introduction to Scientific Programming in Python

June 09 2014

ARCHER, the UK's new national supercomputing service, offers training in software development and high-performance computing to scientists and researchers across the UK. As part of our training service we are running a 3 day Software Carpentry boot camp and Introduction to Scientific Programming in Python at… read more

Keeping the Bootcamp Fun Alive!

June 05 2014

In the later part of 2013, I started the process of co-hosting a Bootcamp with Peter August and Judith Swift both from the University of Rhode Island (URI). During our discussions it became quite clear that as fantastic as the bootcamps are, it would be even… read more

Research Computing Facilitator Jobs in Wisconsin

June 05 2014

The Advanced Computing Infrastructure at the University of Wisconsin-Madison seeks to hire two Research Computing Facilitators (RCFs). The ideal RCF will apply a background of academic research and the use of computation to assist campus researchers in enhancing their research endeavors through the use of on-… read more

Introducing Scientists to Testing and Code Review

June 05 2014

As part of our two-day sprint in July, the khmer project will be offering a mentored open source contributathon. This will provide an opportunity for people interested in trying out the "GitHub flow" model, in which contributions are submitted for review using a pull request. Since… read more

Instructor Training in Norwich, October 2014

June 05 2014

We are pleased to announce that we will be running a two-day version of our instructor training course at The Genome Analysis Centre in Norwich, UK, on October 22-23, 2014. Registration details will be available shortly, but if you are interested in taking part, please mark… read more

Collected Links

June 05 2014

A lot of people have been writing about Software Carpentry on other blogs of late. Here, in no particular order, are a few of their posts: Damien Irving: A vision for data analysis in the weather and climate sciences Deb Paul: Tales from A Data Carpentry… read more

Learning to Teach Never Ends

May 28 2014

A month ago I took part in the first face-to-face Software Carpentry Instructors Training run by Greg Wilson from Software Carpentry and Warren Code from University of British Columbia. Unlike most of 40 participants, I had already completed the instructors course which Greg regularly runs online.… read more

Teaching Librarians in Montreal

May 28 2014

Preston Holmes, Jessica Hamrick, Luke Lee, and I helped deliver a Software Carpentry bootcamp during the PyCon sprints in Montreal in April 2014. The audience consisted of roughly 35 librarians coming mostly from the Montreal area. Planning for this bootcamp was daunting.… read more

Announcing Two More WiSE Bootcamps

May 26 2014

Thanks to generous support from Waterfront International and Stevens Capital Management, we are pleased to announce that we are running two bootcamps for women in science and engineering this summer: one in Philadelphia on June 24-25, and the other in Toronto on July 8-9. Both bootcamps… read more

Summary of May 2014 Lab Meeting

May 24 2014

Our monthly online lab meeting took place this past Thursday (May 22), and for the first time it included voting on pull requests and other issues. All the notes from the Etherpad are included below, but the high points are: The Mozilla Science Lab is hiring… read more

Data Science Study Invitation

May 24 2014

Katie Kuksenok, a graduate student at the University of Washington, is interviewing academic researchers who do data science to explore the barriers and challenges they face. If you would be willing to take 20-30 minutes to be interviewed, please get in touch: among other things, her… read more

Lab Meeting Reminder

May 21 2014

Our monthly lab meeting will take place on Thursday, May 22 at 10:00 am and again at 7:00 pm, Eastern time. There's a lot to discuss, so please take a moment beforehand to go through the lab meeting Etherpad and see if there are any pull… read more

Behind the Scenes

May 20 2014

A lot of people work behind the scenes to organize bootcamps, keep our website going (and readable), and generally make it possble for the rest of us to do what we do. I'd therefore like to offer some long-overdue thanks to Amy Brown, Arliss Collins, Abby… read more

A Lot of Bootcamps in the Works

May 20 2014

Last week, we ran our first bootcamp in Brazil—many thanks to Raniere Silva for this writeup about what worked and what didn't. We'll visit several other new countries over the next three months, as well as running a bunch of other events: read more

Technical Training Officer (LVT Training Officer) position at TGAC

May 14 2014

The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) based at Norwich, UK is looking for a Linux and Virtualisation Technical Training Officer who will join the Training and Outreach Team. The responsibilities are: To support the training programme with the set up of the IT… read more

Our First Data Carpentry Workshop

May 14 2014

On May 8 and 9, 2014, 4 instructors, 4 assistants, and 27 learners filed into the largest meeting space at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) for the inaugural Data Carpentry bootcamp. Data Carpentry is modeled on Software Carpentry, but focuses on tools and practices for… read more

Job Openings at the Mozilla Science Lab

May 14 2014

The Mozilla Science Lab is looking for a community manager to build and scale existing community outreach efforts, and for a developer to lead technical prototyping efforts and engage with our community about technical projects. Possible office locations for these positions include Brooklyn, Toronto, London, Vancouver,… read more

Agenda for This Month's Lab Meeting

May 13 2014

The next Software Carpentry lab meeting will be held at 10:00 Eastern on Thursday, May 22, and repeated at 19:00 Eastern on the same day. (You can use this site to translate those times into your time zone.) We will be voting on several small additions… read more

Assessment Results: First Batch

May 08 2014

As many of our instructors and participants know Software Carpentry has been giving surveys for a number of months at every possible workshop. This takes a surprising amount of coordination and attention, much of which we owe to our wonderful two administrators: Amy Brown and Arliss… read more

"I found it a very interesting book that examined the actual empirical evidence to support or refute some of the sacred cows in software engineering. I think this this is a refreshing step forward for our profession."
--Kim Moir, Releng of the Nerds

"This is a book that you, the programmer and designer, will find worth your time. "
--David H. Bushnell, IOS Press

"Practical Programming is definitely great for a student in an introductory class who is approaching the subject for the first time."
--A. Jurek,

"If you don't anticipate using this textbook in an Introduction to Computer Science class, but are intending to enter into such a program, this book would fit nicely in your summer reading list, giving you a leg up on the course work. "
--James Pyles, Million Chimpanzees

"This isn't a book you have to read – but if you are a programmer at almost any skill level you will find it deeply enjoyable. "
--Mike James, I Programmer

"A collection of thirty three chapters from experts in their fields, Beautiful Code comes as a whiff of fresh air into the book shelf of the programmer...The book will give color to imagination of programmers used to reading bland text-book type documentation and programming manuals."
--Ganadeva Bandyopadhyay,

"Beautiful Code seems the rare kind of computer programming book that tends to resist well the test of time; while it is quite technical and full of code samples, the ideas being discussed are mostly independent of the programming language in question. "
--Rafael Chaves, Vancouver Island Java User Group

"If you want to take your mindset as a developer to the next level, this is a good book. It's also an interesting insight into certain programming problems and their solutions."
--Iain Laskey, PC Book Review

"Adam Oram and Greg Wilson edit Beautiful Code: Leading Programmers Explain How They Think, a unique collection of master classes in software design which will prove perfect not just for computer libraries, but for classroom assignment and independent study...Any programmer involved in software engineering or design will welcome this survey of how the best coders think."
--James Cox, The Bookwatch: The Computer Shelf

"For the serious programmer, this book should have a place on the must-read list. (Caveat: be prepared to spend some time, unless you've mastered several languages and are in the habit of understanding abstract and complicated ideas from brief textual descriptions. If you still think you can read through it quickly, you might spend some time studying the humility of some of the industry giants who have written here.) For a rating, this book is given the maximum value due to the wide range of topics surveyed and the quality of the content."
--Rick Wagner, JavaLobby

"This book is a fascinating insight into the minds of some leading programmers...If you are able to get past the fact that each chapter comes from an entirely new author with an entirely new project, this is an interesting book and a great peek into some truly brilliant minds."
--Mike George,

"Currently rated No.1 on in the programming category, this book gives advice and case studies on how to creatively and carefully design solutions to high-profile software projects and development dilemmas. For example, the "Beautiful Tests" chapter written by Alberto Savoia, CTO of Agitar Software, helps developers understand how running consistent and thorough tests can make code more robust. Is this kind of book likely to help you score more programming goals? Who knows – but it’s good to keep up your training routine at all times isn’t it?"
--Adrian Bridgwater, ZDNet

"I don't imagine that most people would read this book cover-to-cover with the idea that every chapter would be applicable and personal. Writing styles vary, and the technical level of some chapters is *very* deep. But nearly any software developer should be able to read the book and extract a number of ideas that will improve their mindset and approach to what they do on a daily basis... writing beautiful code."
--Thomas Duff, Duffbert's Random Musings

"This is not an easy book, in the sense that it requires that you get into the right frame of mind to fully appreciate some of the subtleties. You might need to find a quiet corner and get into the zone whilst tackling one or two of the more difficult topics. You might even need to read the odd chapter twice before the 'Aha!' moment strikes, but it's certainly worth it. The time spent might well pay for itself several times over if it provides the insight required to solve a problem you encounter...If you are a programmer who likes to find out how things really work, and gain some insight into the minds of past master craftsman, then you should definitely buy this book. This book deserves a place on every serious programmers bookshelf since the lessons to be learned will not become obsolete as languages and technologies change. Highly recommended."
--Mitch Wheat, Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms!

"Beautiful Code presents wide-ranging contributions from 38 pioneering software designers who aim to "rouse and inspire a new generation of coders" by sharing their most closely held secrets. For example, contributor Ronald Mak expounds on his elegant approach to NASA's Mars Rover, and Arun Mehta focuses on the importance of making technology useful to the disabled. Editors Oram and Wilson call the essays from such gifted inventors "inspiring and uplifting.""
--James Gray, Linux Journal

"My appreciation of Beautiful Code is like the one I have for the Justice League or the X-Men– a band of exceptional individuals moving towards a common, altruistic end...This should give the enthusiastic developer a fresh and broad perspective on software. I have to mention that the book is developer oriented, so expect a lot of code and text intertwined. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The book hopefully will be able to give you a new way to look at software."
--Regnard Kreisler C. Raquedan, Standard Web Standards