SciPy 2013: Day Three

Opening Remarks:

With tutorials concluding yesterday, today began the talks. This is the largest SciPy to date. The registration increase of ~75% over last year was easily noticeable at the opening remarks as I sat in a packed room of fellow coders and scientists.  Co-hosts Andy and John announced that the primary themes for this years conference are reproducibility and machine learning before introducing the keynote speaker Fernando Perez.

Keynote: Fernando Perez of IPython — IPython: from the shell to a book with a single tool – The method behind the madness

As you would expect from Fernando, the talk was fast paced, informative, and enjoyable. The real icing on the cake however, was the delivery — an IPython Notebook slide show. I’ve already gone into who excited I am about the IPython notebook; I think it will make an awesome medium for teaching CS students. The slide show only further enhances the usefulness of the IPython tool set. -steps down from soapbox- Anyway, I’ve tried to summarize points from Fernando’s talk I found to be of interest.

After a brief set of opening remarks about the amazing spirit of the community and the phases of the research life cycle, Fernando explained some of IPython’s major mile stones:

  • 2001 – First version of IPython (it was only 259 lines of code!) It’s primary goal was to provide a better interactive Python shell.
  • 2004 – Interactive plotting with matplotlib.
  • 2005 – Interactive parallel computing.
  • 2007 – IPython embedding embedding in Wx apps.
  • 2010 – An improved shell and a protocol to go along with it.
  • 2010 – After 5 attempts, a sixth leads to what we now know as IPython notebook.
  • 2010 – Sharing notebooks with zero-install via nbviewer
  • 2012 – Reproducible research with IPython.parallel and StarCluster
  • 2012 – IPython notebook-based technical blogging
  • 2013 – The first White House hackathon (IPython and NetworkX go to DC)
  • 2013 – IPython notebook-based books: “Literate Computing” Probabilistic Programming and Bayesian Methods for Hackers.

Continuing, Fernando explained many of the lessons he’s learned since starting the project, highlighted alternative use cases written around IPython and IPython notebooks, thanked the community, and gave us some ideas into what lays ahead for IPython (1.0 in a few weeks!). Once the video becomes available, I will be sure to add it here and I highly recommend you watch it!

“The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers” — Hamming ’62

-H.

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