Understanding Regular Expressions

Date 28 April 2016
Speaker(s) Damian Conway
Fees *academic: 150 CHF   -   for-profit: 0 CHF
Cancellation deadline 15 Apr 2016
City Lausanne
*academic fee includes non for-profit organisations as well as unemployed participants at the time of application.


Regular expressions are one of the most widely-used programming tools in bioinformatics. Available in most major programming languages and as a key component of many other useful software tools (browsers, command-line utilities, text editors, web servers, etc.), they are powerful and efficient tools for analyzing and manipulating structured text-based data.

But to most programmers, regular expressions remain a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma shrouded in line-noise. They seem hard to create, harder to use, and almost impossible to debug or maintain.

This class takes participants back to the fundamentals of regular expressions and explains what regexes really are and how they actually work. It also demonstrates how normal programmers can make use of their existing software development skills to construct correct and efficient regexes... without selling their souls or losing their minds along the way.

The course is completely language-agnostic. Every example will be shown in all five major modern dialects of regex syntax (ERE, PCRE, POSIX, P6, and Vimmish), which collectively cover the use of regular expressions in: Apache, C, C++, C#, Chrome, Clojure, egrep, Emacs, flex, Firefox, gawk, grep, Haskell, Java, JavaScript, MySQL, .Net, PCRE, Perl, PHP, PowerShell, Python, Ruby, Safari, sed, VB.NET, and Vim.

This class is taught by Damian Conway, a well-known speaker and lecturer (see his official biography or his Wikipedia page). Damian already lectured at SIB several times, and consistently received the best feedback over all courses ever organized at SIB.

Audience and prerequisite

Participants should be familiar with the basics of control flow, string handling, and simple data structures, in any of the programming languages or tools listed above.


The registration fee for academics is 150 CHF, otherwise 300 CHF. This includes printed course material. 

Deadline for registration and free-of-charge cancellation is set to 15 April. Participants who cancel after this date will not be reimbursed. Please note that participation to SIB courses is subject to this and other general conditions, available at http://www.sib.swiss/training/terms-and-conditions

You will be informed by email of your registration confirmation.


University of Lausanne

Additional information

Coordination: Frédéric Schütz, Training group at SIB

You are welcome to register to the SIB courses mailing-list to be informed of all future courses and workshops, as well as all important deadlines using the form here.

Please contact training@sib.swiss if you have any question.