0. Setup Your Computer

Table of Contents

Install Options

Option 1: Download and build source code from websites above

  • good luck with that, there are many dependencies, it’s a bit of a mess

Option 2: Install the Enthought Python Distribution (all platforms)

Option 3: Install a software virtual machine running Ubuntu GNU/Linux (all platforms)

  • perhaps the easiest and most "self-contained" option - it won’t install stuff on your own machine but will install stuff within a virtual machine, leaving your machine untouched
  • download and install VirtualBox, it’s free and runs on Windows & Mac (and GNU/Linux)
  • download the pre-configured UbuntuVM.ova provided by me (beware, it’s a 3.8 GB file)
  • in VirtualBox, "Import Appliance…" and point to UbuntuVM.ova
  • Then start the virtual machine (username is compneuro and password is compneuro)
  • you’re ready to rumble, I have installed all the software already

Option 4 (Mac) : install Python + scientific libraries on your machine

  • install Xcode from the mac app store (the download is LARGE, several GB)
  • in Xcode: Preferences/Downloads/Components and Install the "Command Line Tools"
  • download and run the SciPy Superpack install script
  • note: you may have to download install python-setuptools first… if the superpack install script doesn’t work, try this
  • you’re ready to rumble

Option 5 (windows)

  • <laughing>
  • seriously though I have little to no idea about the windows universe
  • your best bet may be the Enthought Python Distribution
  • they have an Academic Version which is free, you just have to fill out a form and they send you an email with a download link
  • here is a blog post detailing how to get the ipython notebook running on Windows 7

Testing your installation

Launching iPython

To launch iPython, open up a Terminal and type a command to launch:

To make it so Figures appear in their own window on your desktop (like MATLAB):

ipython --pylab

To make it so Figures appear in the console itself, right after the commmand(s) that produced them:

ipython qtconsole --pylab inline

To launch a browser-based "notebook" (this is really neat)

ipython notebook --pylab inline

Making a plot

Type the following:

t = arange(0, 1, 0.01)
y = sin(2*pi*t*3)

and you should see this plot:


Next steps

In the next topic we will talk about dynamical systems — what they are, and how they can be used to address scientific questions through computer simulation.

[ next ]


Paul Gribble | fall 2012
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