Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about Foundations for Research Computing? The program is still in its introductory pilot phase, so this is entirely reasonable: We're building the airplane while flying it. We have tallied some of the most frequent questions and provided our answers below.

Contact us to suggest new Questions and Answers to post to this page!

Emerging from a recommendation of the Shared Research Computing Policy Advisory Committee to the Research Computing Executive Committee, the Foundations program is generously supported by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research, Columbia University Libraries and Columbia University Information Technology. The program is administered primarily through Columbia University Libraries, with strong support from CU Information Technology, the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research. The Distinguished Lectures in Computational Innovation series also benefits from partnering with the Data Science Institute and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation.

Yes, please - register for every Foundations-related event you are sent, and email if you have any questions or need any support.

During its initial pilot phase, our pre-semester boot camps are only available to Columbia graduate students. All other members of the Columbia community - undergraduate students, faculty, and administrators - are welcome and encouraged to attend other programmatic offerings, especially the Distinguished Lectures in Computational Innovation series.

It is our hope that future years of pre-semester boot camps will allow participation for other Columbia constituents. To request programmatic expansion, please send a note to - this message will be highly valuable in documenting expressed need from other Columbia demographics.

Foundations for Research Computing is an informal training program, designed in response to faculty surveys about what tools and methodologies graduate students should be familiar with, as well as graduate student surveys that asked what supplemental training they would like. Foundations' programmatic offerings do not grant credits or lead to formal degrees, nor do its events increase students' time to degree. Rather, this program's offerings are complementary to formal degree requirements, and are intended to help students pursue their formal degree requirements that involve computation.

Foundations for Research Computing is intentionally informal: The associated events and offerings are not for credit, do not fulfill any degree requirements, and do not substitute for formal data science or computational courses offered by individual schools and institutes. For a list of your department or school's course offerings related to data science or computation, please contact your academic advisor.