Archive for Ubuntu

A Day of Computing

Posted in Biographical, Education, Maynooth, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , , , on February 3, 2022 by telescoper

Last Semester, Thursday was what I optimistically called a “Research Day” (on the basis that I had no teaching on it). This Semester it’s one of my busiest teaching days, with lecturing in the morning and a lab session in the afternoon, both for Computational Physics.

For most of the last two years I’ve been delivering the lectures and running the lab remotely, but now that we’re back teaching face-to-face I gave the lecture in person and was in the lab with the class for this afternoon’s session. I’ve got about twice as many students this year as last year swill be running two lab sessions (one next Tuesday repeating the material from the Thursday one, and so on throughout the term).

Running the lab remotely worked reasonably well because Python is available to download for free and works on a standard Windows-based PC. In the lab however we use a Linux (Ubuntu) system, which gives the students the chance to try a different operating system (and one which is for many purposes better than Windows).

It’s good to be back running the computing laboratory class in person but I was a bit nervous this morning because since I last did it that way the machines we have in our laboratory have all been upgraded to a new operating system and have a new (and very different) version of Python (3.9 versus the now obsolete 2.7). I’ve been around long enough to realize that things can go wrong in such situations, so I warned the class during this morning’s lecture that there might be teething troubles. Sure enough we had quite a few technical glitches but, to be honest, it it could have been a lot worse. Next Tuesday’s lab should be a bit less stressful as we’ve fixed a few of the things that went wrong.

So, by no means a disaster, but a busy and quite stressful day. Time to go home and relax.