Skip to main content

Basic Regular Expressions: Working with Hardware Data

Hands-On Lab


Photo of Elle Krout

Elle Krout

Content Team Lead in Content





Regular expressions allow us to take the most complicated pieces of text and match the patterns within them for a variety of results, but to learn regular expressions we have to start somewhere. Using a combination of literals, digits, and word characters, alongside some basic text processing commands (such as grep), we can match product IDs and architectures and parse down a large product list into something more manageable.

What are Hands-On Labs?

Hands-On Labs are scenario-based learning environments where learners can practice without consequences. Don't compromise a system or waste money on expensive downloads. Practice real-world skills without the real-world risk, no assembly required.

Intel CPUs

  1. We first want to break down the expressions we need to match. This one is fairly easy, with much of it being a literal match. In this instance, each token is encased in square brackets:

  2. We can now translate this into regex:

  3. Let's now test it to make sure it works. Before we save anything to a file, we can simply grep this expression and see what comes out:

    grep -P 'E3-12ddVd' intel-cpus.csv
  4. Now that we know everything looks right, let's send it to a file:

    grep -P 'E3-12ddVd' intel-cpus.csv > intel-options.csv


  1. As with the CPUs, we want to look at our example matches and break them down:

    [G][word][digit][digit][digit][-][digit][digit][digit]-[word][word or digit]
  2. We can now translate this to regular expressrions. Note that since w also matches for digits, we do not have to do anything special for the last token in the expression:

  3. Let's test with grep:

    grep -P 'Gwddd-ddd-ww' gpus.csv

    Note that this list is particularly large.

  4. Now send the output to a file:

    grep -P 'Gwddd-ddd-ww' gpus.csv > gpu-options.csv

Do note that these are only two options for this learning activity; you may come up with something different that works just as well!