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Me, myself and my concerns :-)

I am not ( ! ) a computer specialist. Therefore some frequent difficulties with some high skill requiring computer tasks. But with probably never enough time to deepen my computer science skills before still far retirement...

I am a geoscientist, a heavy computer user and a geoscience teacher, at Grenoble Observatory and University (France).

I am relatively new to Python (in term of number of written lines of code and spent hours).

Presently, I am mainly interested in Python as in charge of an applied maths course for earth and environmental science sutdent). As I advocate teaching it, it's a ubiquist modern language that deals and behaves rather well with number-crunching, and eventually permits to develop simple GUIs (scientific data visualisation). Therefore I teach it (introduction level) in order to provide to my students a free and rather friendly-user alternative to my favorite calculation environment, which is MATLAB. As a general language, I also use it to cleanly introduce a bit of first-level algorithmics, which I can't, pedagogically speaking, with Matlab-like softwares.

Python has also some, say hobbyist, attraction to me, and I use it from time to time for simple code chunks, or to explain some basic think to my kids (ha ! that turtle module !)

How did I professionally come to Python ?

Some years ago, I had to carry out a Monte-Carlo study about the sensitivity to outliers of some statistics in a context of so-called "heavy tail" distributions. Because being pointed at the "random" Python module which provides ready written simulations for some of these peculiar distributions, I used this study as a personal bench to this language. I was indeed flabbergasted by how I easily wrote the program, thanks to a wonderful documentation, a simple syntax, and how efficient and fast was the code (millions of high-dimension random draws from complicated probability distributions and subsequent calculations in a blink of an eye, this on a WinNT previous-millenium PC ! Whaouh...

Working configurations

My present difficulties and concerns (july 2008) :

  1. to get a clean MacPython install, with all the necessary modules...

  2. ...which are : NumPy-SciPy, PIL, and matplotLib ; plus some others for trying them.

  3. to develop a series of one-to-two screen pages sample codes, for applied science students (Earth and environmental sciences)...

Other words

Any comments, clues, tips, sorrows, incentives ?

-- Thanks in advance, Éric

(dernière mise à jour : @sig@)


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