Some initial notes from lessons learned during FreeSurfer course in São Paulo, Brazil 11 & 12 March, 2009

Note: The opinions expressed here are the views of mine and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the FreeSurfer Development Team.

We had a wonderful FreeSurfer course in HCFMUSP in São Paulo, Brazil in March, 2009. In order to save you some time if you are thinking about organizing a Freesurfer course, I've put some of my personal notes in this page. I think this is a compilation of what we have learned from my mistakes and some of our successes.

I'm not sure that the people from the FreeSurfer development team can make more than few courses per year especially if they are outside the US. So try to book your course with enough time, check with your sponsor is fine with the idea and your institution has scientific skills to have at least 20-30 people who make research in neuroscience or intend to use this tool.



Keep in mind that you should provide one computer per pair of attendees. It's strongly advisable to test all computers before the course.

Ideal configuration

Min configuration

Laptop notes Laptops can be handy if you have limited space; however it's advisable to provide a proper mouse and to check the video board of the Notebook. Intel Video boards sometimes can create trouble.

Virtual Machine All FreeSurfer GUI tools runs fine in VirtualBox. If people want to try it in their own computers probably it's a good idea to give them a DVD with a VDI image that runs inside Windows.

The computers must have:

Travel Arrangements


Course Room

You'll need:


A nice way to avoid Murphy's Law is to have a backup plan to each critical step. If you don't consider a step critical, think twice or Murphy can pay you a visit.

Network, computers, power network and other electronics can be nasty when it comes to Murphy's so be prepared to work in full panic mode.


Some ideas:


Power supply

Special needs



Putting people to work

FreeSurfer List

If you have more questions: ppaulojr AT gmail DOT com

Pedro Paulo Oliveira Jr.