Methods for Scientific Data Management

Instructor: Chad Bahrmann
Office: 423 Walker
Office Hours: By Appt.

Class Schedule
Class 1: Introduction, discussion and class expectations.
Classes 2: Linux command line.
Classes 3-6: Data formats, processing techniques and regular expressions.
Classes 7-9: Database design and implementation.
Classes 10+ Project design and implementation.
Last Class: Wrap up, final discussions and exit survey.

METEO 498 will introduce students to data management methods, techniques and procedures by utilizing a real world “problems and solutions” based approach.  This is YOUR opportunity to learn these highly sought after skills for use in employment opportunities as well as postgraduate education.  This class will have an open forum structure where attendance and participation is extremely important and required.

The communication between students of concepts, ideas and techniques is encouraged and allowed.  However, one’s individual computer code is not allowed to be shared or exchanged with another party.  If anyone is found exchanging computer code both parties will receive no credit for the assignment. 


  1. To gain knowledge of commonly used scientific data formats.
  2. To become familiar with handling and managing large datasets.
  3. To become accustomed to using scripting languages to process data.
  4. To understand and use RDBMS (Relational Data Base Management Systems) for scientific data.

Grade will be assessed based on the following:

  • Attendance 5% of Final Grade:
    • After 2 unexcused absences, you will receive no credit.
  • Homework 20% of Final Grade.
  • Final Project 50% of Final Grade:
    • Must be able to apply concepts and techniques to assignments.
    • Grade will be determined from database content and structure.
  • Exam 25% of Final Grade.
  • Minimum passing grade for this class is 50%.

Other Information:
Course policies (e.g., attendance and class participation expectations; lab safety statements; cellphone and other electronic device usage) 

This course abides by the Penn State Class Attendance policies given at,,,, and  Students who miss class for legitimate reasons will be given a reasonable opportunity to make up missed work, including exams and quizzes.  Students are not required to secure the signature of medical personnel in the case of illness or injury and should use their best judgment on whether they are well enough to attend class or not; the University Health Center will not provide medical verification for minor illnesses or injuries. Other legitimate reasons for missing class include religious observance, family emergencies, and regularly scheduled university-approved curricular or extracurricular activities.  Students who encounter serious family, health, or personal situations that result in extended absences should contact the Office of Student and Family Services for help:  Whenever possible, students participating in University-approved activities should submit to the instructor a Class Absence Form, available at, at least one week prior to the activity. 

Academic integrity statement
Class members may work on the exercises in groups, but then each student must also have their own copy of the exercise.  Students are not to copy problem verbatim from others or online sources unless noted as freely available in their end user license agreement.  For information about the Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Policy, which this course adopts, please see:

Accommodations for students with disabilities
The Office of Disability Services ( requests and maintains disability-related documents; certifies eligibility for services; determines academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services; and develops plans for the provision of academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services as mandated under Title II of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  A list of these services is provided at

Other statements as applicable
Residence Instruction: Campus emergencies, including weather delays, are announced on Penn State News (http:/ and communicated to cellphones, email, the Penn State Facebook page, and Twitter via PSUTXT (to sign up, please see