Topic outline

  • Understanding Regular Expressions

    Lausanne, 26 March 2015


    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.

    Please contact if you have any question.


    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 Swiss academics is at most 150 CHF (the final price is likely to be lower, but will depend on the number of participants). This includes printed course content material. Participants from non-academic institutions should contact us before application.

    Applications are closed.

    You will be informed by email of your registration confirmation. 



    Additional information

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