Understanding Regular Expressions

Date 5 May 2017
Speaker(s) Damian Conway
Fees *academic: 100 CHF   -   for-profit: 0 CHF
Cancellation deadline 5 May 2017
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 amazing feedback about his courses.

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 100 CHF, otherwise 300 CHF. This includes printed course material. Since the course is subsidised by EPFL, participants registering with an EPFL email address will pay only 50 CHF.

Deadline for registration and free-of-charge cancellation is set to 24 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.


EPFL, Lausanne

Additional information

This course is co-organized by the SIB and the EPFL.

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.