Monthly Archives: August 2009

Next EPD Webinar: Working with various data formats

Today’s webinar on SciPy 2009 offered attendees a great overview on new developments on the scientific-computing-with-Python-horizon. If you missed it, check out our recording here.

Up next, we have an EPD webinar next Friday, September 4th. Another installment of our popular “How-do-I…” series, we’ll be looking at ways to work with data from various file types. Getting data from where it sits into NumPy so it can be manipulated using the wealth of libraries available in EPD is usually the first step in any workflow.

In this webinar we will illustrate by example how to read (and write) different kinds of data files: CSV, Excel, HDF, .MAT, and arbitrary ASCII and arbitrary binary files. We will show how data can be accessed using either the filesystem or the world wide web.

Once again, these events will be capped at 35 seats. EPD Basic or above subscribers will be emailed invitations and guaranteed seats. If you’re not a qualified subscriber, but are interested in attending, please sign up for a wait list here. The list filled up quickly last time, but we were excited to see so much interest in EPD and are planning to continue this registration model.

Enthought Python Distribution Webinar

How do I… read data from all kinds of files?

September 4, 2009
1pm CDT(6pm UTC)

Hope to see you there!

SciPy 2009 videos

SciPy 2009 was a great success, and I want to congratulate everyone involved. Unfortunately, for the first time ever, I was unable to attend. I love meeting all the neat people that work on scientific tools for Python, and always find it gratifying to see how the community has each year, so it was a big disappointment to miss last week’s conference.

The event showcased some of the amazing opensource tools being created: SciPy itself , Matplotlib ,IPython (especially its use for parallel computing),SymPy, CorePy, Cython, FiPy, Sage, and so many more. Itappears that Python is poised to become the lingua franca for scientific computing as it is increasingly utilized in technical, data-centric, and visualizationapplications.

Instead of soaking in the tutorials, talks, and sprints at SciPy inPasadena, I spent last week in the slightly cooler city of Chicago(you can pick your own connotation of that statement). I was in theSouth Side at the University of Chicago, teaching a class on usingPython for Scientific Computing to a very interesting group ofscientists. These people are using text mining to discern complexrelationships between self-discovered memes. That’s my explanation
and not theirs, and so I’m sure it doesn’t catch the true scope oftheir work.

I was invited to teach the class by Professor Andrey Rhetsky to help his group usePython better in their work. He is involved in an ambitious projectto build an automatic map of all of the published connections betweenbiomolecules (proteins, DNA, RNA, etc.). He works to build the map bymining abstracts from all the major scientific publications. Thereare many possible uses of such a map: drug discovery, treatmentdiscovery, and automatic hypothesis generation. All of these havepotentially significant implications for medicine as well as for general scientific practice.

Image from Andrey Rzhetsky.

Andrey’s work is an interesting application of the type of relationship-mining practiced byanother University of Chicago professor, James A. Evans. Jameswas also in the class withseveral of his colleagues, and believes this kind of mining can yield fruit in understanding social networks in general. In particular, Professor Evans sees potential in using text-mining to better understand the role of social networks in the production and dissemination of knowledge, especially scientific knowledge.

Their work is fascinating and quite different from my own experience.There was, however, significant overlap in the foundational areas ofBayesian analysis, string processing, and Python. If Icouldn’t be at SciPy, then at least I had a chance to discussat least some projection of meta-science with some very bright people.

My disappointment with not being able to attend SciPy was ameliorateda bit on Wednesday night, when I discovered that SciPy 2009 isavailable on video. I stayed up way too late several nights watchingtutorials and talks. If you also missed SciPy, check out the recordings at and get addicted.

It was very fun to be able to watch Peter Norvig’s keynote talk onThursday night, and then show the video to Andrey and James and Peter McMahan,who isworking with James. Portions of the code displayed in the presentation seemed tohave quite a bit of overlap to the code that they had just shown me theprevious day.

Such an increase in information flow could surely lead to more andbetter progress… Maybe… Talking with Professor Evans also highlighted the potential forsuch communication speed, coupled with the limited amount of time modern humans are able to dedicate to fully comprehending new ideas, to have perilous effects. False ideas can become rigidly cemented in the minds of people reliant on trusted sources.It certainly makes me wonder which of my ideas are really wheat andwhich are just chaff waiting for the right wind to blow them away.

I’m really hoping to come to SciPy next year. Hopefully, I might havea few real things to actually talk about as well. In the meantime, our next Scientific Computing with Python webinar is scheduled for thisFriday. If you haven’t already registered, we will be reviewing SciPy (Really just a good excuse for me to watch more of the videos!).If you didn’t make it to SciPy, this webinar is a chance to catch up. On the other hand, if you attendedSciPy, the meeting will be a great opportunity to share your experience and provide feedback.

Scientific Computing with Python Webinar: SciPy 2009

Friday, August 28

1pm CDT/6pm UTC

Register at GoToMeeting

New double slider editor

Occasionally I want a slider to control 2 values, such as defining a date range or clipping parameters. In the past, I would just create 2 sliders using the RangeEditor. It worked fine, but took up 20 or so pixels and didn’t really visually show the relationship between the 2 variables.

BoundsEditor screen shot

BoundsEditor screen shot

Qt and PyQt made it ridiculously easy to create the control I wanted. I started off transcoding the Qt QSlider C++ code into python, then added the second slider. In all, its about 180 lines of Python, less than 50 of it specific to the seconds slider.

I also wrapped this into a Traits editor, which can be found at enthought.traits.ui.qt.extra.bounds_editor.BoundsEditor

SCP August Webinar: SciPy 2009!

The Enthought office in Austin has been pretty tranquil this week as many of our developers are out at the 2009 Python for Scientific Computing Conference at Caltech. The tutorial videos got posted yesterday, and slides are being uploaded as well.

Keynote speakers included Peter Norvig and Jon Guyer, the SciPy 2009 BoF sessions covered topics ranging from Astronomy to Machine Learning. Needless to say, we expect there will be a lot to report back on! That’s why we’ve decided to dedicate next Friday’s Scientific Computing with Python Webinar to SciPy 2009.

Scientific Computing with Python Webinar: SciPy 2009

Friday, August 28

1pm CDT/6pm UTC

Register at GoToMeeting

Hope to see you there!

Enthought presenting at StackOverflow DevDays

Picture 2

We are extremely excited to announce that Eric Jones and Travis Oliphant will be speaking at StackOverflow DevDays in Austin on October 14th.

Developers worldwide have been flocking to snatch up tickets, and Joel Spolsky’s visionary description of the event is indeed promising:

We decided to cram as many diverse topics as possible into a single day event. Like a tasting menu at a great restaurant, well line up six great speakers in each city.

This is not going to be just a Java conference or a .NET conference or a Ruby conference. This will be completely ecumenical…The conference is for programmers. The conversation is going to be hard core. Speakers are going to be writing code.

Travis and Eric will be talking, of course, about Python: A fast and furious hour-long introduction to the language and why people love it. If you’re interested in attending, register at Carsonified.