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Summer School: Advanced Scientific Programming in Python

Once again, there will be another round of the Summer School “Advanced Scientific Programming in Python”. This year in St. Andrews, UK.

Quoting from the official announcement:

Scientists spend more and more time writing, maintaining, and debugging software. While techniques for doing this efficiently have evolved, only few scientists actually use them. As a result, instead of doing their research, they spend far too much time writing deficient code and reinventing the wheel. In this course we will present a selection of advanced programming techniques, incorporating theoretical lectures and practical exercises tailored to the needs of a programming scientist. New skills will be tested in a real programming project: we will team up to develop an entertaining scientific computer game.

We use the Python programming language for the entire course. Python works as a simple programming language for beginners, but more importantly, it also works great in scientific simulations and data analysis. We show how clean language design, ease of extensibility, and the great wealth of open source libraries for scientific computing and data visualization are driving Python to become a standard tool for the programming scientist.

This school is targeted at PhD students and Post-docs from all areas of science. Competence in Python or in another language such as Java, C/C++, MATLAB, or Mathematica is absolutely required. Basic knowledge of Python is assumed. Participants without any prior experience with Python should work through the proposed introductory materials before the course.

You can apply on-line at

Applications must be submitted before May 29, 2011. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by June 19, 2011.

No fee is charged but participants should take care of travel, living, and accommodation expenses. Candidates will be selected on the basis of their profile. Places are limited: acceptance rate in past editions was around 30%. Prerequisites: You are supposed to know the basics of Python to participate in the lectures. Please consult the website for a list of introductory material.

If you’re a scientist and interested in Python, I cannot recommend this summer school highly enough. The Summer School is always fun, the faculty members are very nice and always willing to help and answer questions. The balance between lectures and exercises is in my opinion very good, and you’ll learn a lot about Python during the week. The highlight of every Python School is always the Pac Man tournament, where groups of students will implement their own Pac Man agent (in Python) and compete against the other agents in a tournament ‘till the bitter end!

The students of the previous editions were usually very happy during and after the School. Speaking of happiness, since no fee is charged for the Summer School, you’ll have more money left over to invest into the excellent Scottish pubs!