What is version control?

A version control system is a tool that manages changes made to the files and directories in a project. Many version control systems exist; this lesson focuses on one called Git, which is used by many of the data science tools covered in our other lessons. Its strengths are:

  • Nothing that is saved to Git is ever lost, so you can always go back to see which results were generated by which versions of your programs.

  • Git automatically notifies you when your work conflicts with someone else's, so it's harder (but not impossible) to accidentally overwrite work.

  • Git can synchronize work done by different people on different machines, so it scales as your team does.

Version control isn't just for software: books, papers, parameter sets, and anything that changes over time or needs to be shared can and should be stored and shared using something like Git.

Which of the following does Git do?

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