Friday, January 11, 2008

I'm glad I chose Python for Sage -- some cool scientific computing Python projects

When brainstorming for talk ideas for a workshop, Fernando Perez came up with a bunch of random off-the-top of his head very high quality/impact scientific computing projects that involve Python. Here they are (the following was written by Fernando Perez, the author of IPython):

- I can obviously talk about ipython and related projects, but I can also give a math/technical talk off this type of work (the whole implementation is python, and uses quite a few tricks):

- Brian Granger (from Tech-X has a NASA grant to develop distributed arrays for Python, using IPython and numpy. That would make for an excellent talk, I think (matlab,, and all the 'big boys' are after distributed arrays).

- Trilinos (, a large set of parallel solvers developed at Sandia National Lab, has a great set of Python bindings (even usable interactively via ipython).

- MPI4Py is an excellent set of MPI bindings for Python, and its author Lisandro Dalcin is also the developer of Petsc4py:
If Lisandro can't come, I can contact one of the Petsc guys who's a great python developer and see if he's coming or can make it, he's an excellent speaker (Matt Knepley from Argonne Nat. Lab

- The Hubble space telescope people are all pyhton based, and have done enormous amounts of work on both their internal image processing pipeline and contrbuting to Matplotlib (they have currently a developer working full time on matplotlib).

- The NetworkX (Sage uses this) guys from Los Alamos will probably be coming:

- The Scripps institute has an extremely strong Python team doing molecular visualization and visual programming. Their work is very impressive, and they're already in San Diego, so it's a no brainer to attend. Their presentations are always of very high quality:

- JPL uses python extensively (they've contracted out work for matplotlib to be extended to suit their specific needs).

- My new job at UC Berkeley is on neuroscience, and we could present the work that's being developed there for fMRI analysis (all Python based, fully open source, NIH funded).

- Andrew Straw's work ( on real-time 3d tracking of fruit flies is very, very impressive. All python based, hardware control, real-time parallel computing.

- The CACR group at Caltech has the contract for DANSE (, the Spallation Neutron Source's data analysis framework, all python. This is currently the largest experiment being funded in the USA.