Monthly Archives: February 2010

PyCon 2010 Report

I just got back from PyCon, where I gave my tutorial on Traits, met all sorts of smart and interesting people, listened to some great talks, ate more food than I probably should have, and got less sleep than I probably needed. It was really nice to see talks and posters about things that people are doing with Python in science at a general-purpose conference.

Highlights for me:
Dave Beazley’s awesome talk on Python’s Global Interpreter Lock (GIL) and its curious behaviour. If you do any programming with threads in Python you have to make sure that you watch the video it’s a clear, understandable and unflinching look at some of the weird behaviour that you can get from CPU-bound threads in Python. The take-home message of his talk for scientific programmers: With current versions of Python, there is little point of running intensive pure-Python computations in parallel using threads and doing so on multiple core machines may severely degrade computation time. Dave showed a simple example where a computation split into two threads on two cores took twice as long as the same computation in one thread on one core. Fortunately NumPy releases the GIL for most of its operations, but his talk highlights something that we should all keep in mind.

Wes McKinney’s new Pandas package for data series analysis. I didn’t get to see his talk, but I got to spend a fair amount of time talking to Wes and his package was generating quite a bit of buzz in the financial and numerical computing open spaces. It’s an early release, but there have been several projects I’ve been involved in over the past couple of years where the Pandas data structures would have been invaluable. I’m looking forward to being able to use it in the future in projects that I’m working on.

Altogether, a great time. Thanks to everyone who dropped by the Enthought booth and talked with us, and we’ll see you in Atlanta at PyCon 2011 next year!

PyCon Giveaway Winners Announced

Corran, Ilan, and Travis had a great time at PyCon 2010 in Atlanta. We collected names for two drawings at our booth and just drew the winners this morning. Joseph Tennies, from Esterline, won the seat at an Enthought Open Training Course.

Meanwhile, Basic subscriptions will go out to:

  • Jason Zillioux
  • R. Mark Sharp, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research
  • Piotr Adam Zolnierczuk, Oak Ridge National Lab
  • Daniel Schep, Savannah River National Lab

Congratulations to all the winners!

Save the Date: SciPy 2010, June 28-July 3

The annual US Scientific Computing with Python Conference, SciPy, has been held at Caltech since it began in 2001. While we always love an excuse to go to California, it’s also important to make sure that we allow everyone an opportunity to attend the conference. So, as Jarrod announced last fall, we’ll begin rotating the conference location and hold the 2010 conference in Austin, Texas.

As you may know, Enthought is headquartered in Austin. So in addition to our standard SciPy sponsorship, this year we’ll also be undertaking a great deal of the planning and organization.

To begin with, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve secured several corporate sponsorships that will allow us to host the conference at the brand new AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on campus at the University of Texas. It’s a wonderful facility in Central Austin and provides easy access to an array of great restaurants, parks, and music venues.

We will also be able to provide stipends for our Tutorial presenters for the first time. These community members provide us with an invaluable learning experience every year, and we’re very excited to be able to compensate them for their efforts. And of course, we’ll also continue to offer student sponsorships to support active academic contributors who want to attend the conference.

So mark your calendars, folks! June 28 – July 3. Early registration open now.