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Science Services

Unix (Bash) Shell for Science

The Unix shell is a powerful tool that allows people to do complex things with just a few keystrokes. More importantly, it helps them combine existing programs in new ways and automate repetitive tasks. Use of the shell is fundamental to using a wide range of other powerful tools and computing resources including “high-performance computing” supercomputers like the Brandeis HPCC maintained by ITS and the Division of Science. These resources will start you on a path towards using the shell effectively.

Learn more about High-Performance Computing at Brandeis.

Installing Bash Shell

See Software Carpentry Instructions for detailed instructions and videos for each operating system.

  • Windows Operating Systems:  Computers with Windows operating systems do not automatically have a Unix Shell program installed. In this lesson, we encourage you to use an emulator included in Git for Windows, which gives you access to both Bash shell commands and Git. 
  • Mac Operating Systems:  The default shell in some versions of macOS is Bash, and Bash is available in all versions, so no need to install anything. You access Bash from the Terminal (found in /Applications/Utilities). 
  • Linux Operating Systems:  The default shell is usually Bash and there is usually no need to install anything.

    To see if your default shell is Bash type echo $SHELL in a terminal and press the Enter key. If the message printed does not end with '/bash' then your default is something else and you can run Bash by typing bash.


Data Services Workshop

Bash Shell Resources at Brandeis