Open source software: Python

logo_smallWe are still selecting the right replacement for FORTRAN, because we like to work with a graphical interface (GUI) and to develop new programs in an efficient way. The current speed of ordinary PC’s allow us to work with a script language. In this case, an interpreter reads, translates and executes line by line. Declarations of variables is not needed anymore and debugging is much easier.

pythonOne of the most popular languages today is beyond any doubt Python. It is a 27 years old language, which is object oriented and procedural. In our case, we just want a FORTRAN equivalent. Python is written by  Guido van Rossum, a mathematician from the Netherlands. The blocks in the programs are created with indentation to improve readability of the programs. But on top of that, the Python community has written a huge amount of external commands for mathematics, science, data-mining, etc … . The intelligent language, easy to learn, together with the large amount of external commands makes the language extremely attractive.

220px-Guido_van_Rossum_OSCON_2006The language runs on Windows, Linux, Unix, Android and probably more operating systems. The Internet is full of tutorials and examples with this language. It seems that almost every programmer is a fan.

The language allows to export (import) data to (of) other programs with all kind of file formats. For the physicsts, there are the following exceptional possibilities:

  • SciPy, a package for scientist with plotting possibilities
  • SfePy, a package to solve differntial equations with finite elements.
  • and much more … . We think the best way to start as a scientist is Anaconda.

anacondaWe wish you a nice adventure with Python. And it is true, the writer Guido answers all emails.


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