Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Python Programming Programme

The first three days of this week we're having a Python training course at my work, which I've been attending. Having no formal training in Python (or any computer language for that matter), I've been looking forward to this. While the first day was mainly an introduction to Python itself (and thus covered a lot of what I've learned myself), I still learned several new things, including some that have been mysteries to me for years.

Today we dove into efficient numerical processing with the NumPy package, something I don't really have much experience in (although much of the morning was spent working with the matplotlib graphing package, which I have been working [and struggling] with extensively for the last three weeks). I was quite excited at the end of the day when I managed to read a FITS image and display it, with a crude image stretch, entirely with Python code. It was quite exhilarating. It was cool to discover that our instructor was also an amateur astronomer, and used code he'd written to help process his images.

Tomorrow we're supposed to jump into the SciPy suite of scientific tools. I've at least used NumPy a little bit from time to time, but I haven't ever really found a need to use SciPy before so this should be very informative.

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