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Much research involves analyzing data using software developed by others. Conda is extremely useful for installing and managing this software. Most program I’ve wanted to use are installable via conda, and you can even manage R packages with conda.

Why should you use conda?

Software installation

Software engineers typically build upon previously-existing software to make a new program (or package). Thus, when you install their new program, you also need to install this previously-existing software they used, which are called dependencies. Conda takes care of all of this for you automatically!

Software management

If you want to simultaneously use several software packages, you may run into conflicts in which several of them have conflicting dependencies; i.e. the software packages require different versions of the same dependency. If you run into this issue, you can get strange error messages that take a while to solve. When you install software via conda, it tries to install software in such a way that everything is compatible, saving you a lot of time and frustration.

How do you use conda?

I will soon put some details here directly, but see here for a fabulous introduction on how to install and use conda.