Physicists Should Use Git

Or everyone should try git

Created by Lei Ma

If git is the answer,

what is the question?

Let's go shopping.

How Do We Track What We Have Done?

Shopping List - Add & Commit

  1. Apple
  2. Orange
  3. Milk
  4. Beef

How Do Alice and Bob Shop Together?

Collaborative Shopping - Push & Pull


  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Beef


  • Milk
  • Cereal
  • Beef
  • Chocolate

Social Shopping - Fork & Pull Request

Look at Charles. He's got nice things in his cart. Let's just copy it.

Alice, I think Charles should also get a lot more to eat. Let's tell him.

Hey I do need them. I'll merge your cart to mine.

Git, Is Much More Powerful!


Is a Distributed Version Control System

blesses your files and data

is Fast and easy to use

is Open Source

Distributed Version Control System

Version Control

Distributed Version Control System



files and data assurance

Git always adds things, even you do deletions.

Records of each change are kept safe.

Rolling back to previous commits is easy.

Easy to Use

GUI for Mac, Linux and even Windows

CL involves only 4 or 5 commands for beginners.

Open Source and Free to Use

Git in Action

Writing An Essay: Offline and Alone

One Person Workflow

How do we keep track of revision history?

files in the cloud

Push to remote server

What if we want to collaborate?

Git is a DISTRIBUTED tool.


Collaborate on GitHub

  • Push
  • Pull
  • Fork
  • Pull Request
  • Network Graph
GitHub is designed to be Decentralized.

Git in Action

Writing An Essay: Collaboration

Network Graph of Theoretical Physics Repo

Network Graph of Theoretical Physics Repo


When I say decentralization I do mean D-E-C-E-N-T-R-A-L-I-Z-A-T-I-O-N.

GitHub, Social Coding?

GitHub is not only for programmers.

  • A New Filesystem
  • GitHub "Organizations"
  • GitHub Pages
  • Open Science?

Not A Programmer? No Problem.

So many ways to use GitHub

  • Teaching
    • Lecture Notes
    • Students' Work Tracking
    • Course Webpage
    • Collaboration
    • Assignments
  • Book Writing
  • Blogging
  • Photographing
  • Music Composing
  • 3D Modeling
  • Geomapping
  • Even German Federal Law

Wait, I thought we were talking about Git.

GitHub is the largest and probably the best.

We do have a bunch of alternatives.

What About My Privacy?

Work offline or as a better choice use private repository.

  • Buy GitHub Pro Account
  • Apply for Free Student Account
  • Switch to Bitbucket

Open Science

Science is open already, but we need more.

The workflow of science is like our git workflow. It's just not git enough.

Fork a work, not just a paper.

Decentralize research by open science. Fight Matthew effect.

New Evaluation Procedure for scientists is one of the keypoints.

Get Started


git-scm  |   GitHub
GitHub Training & Guides@Youtube
Benefit from GitHub Education

This page doesn't exist!

Source of this presentation is here (gradschool). [Presentations/whygit]

I use reveal.js to make these slides. It's a great tool.

My GitHub Account: @OctoMiao

A HTML4Scientists Template: HTML4Scientists

Survive Grad School: GradSchool Repo