Gaël Varoquaux

Sat 16 May 2009

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Pycon FR: presentations and tutorials

May 30th and 31st the French Python conference, Pycon FR, will be held at ‘la citée des sciences’, la Villette, in Paris.

The first day, I will be giving a one-hour-long tutorial (in French) on numpy, scipy, and all the Python for Science jazz. On the following day, I will be giving a half-hour-long talk to ilustrate the use of Python in my current work: statistical analysis and modelling of brain activity.

I’ll be giving my tutorial in one room, while David Larlet (the famous Biologeek) will be giving one on Django in another room. Tough competition :-P .

The program of the conference is very eclectic, ranging from general programming talks, to GUIs or web development. While this might deter the pure scientific computing folks, I strongly encourage you to attend. Indeed, a lot of the development, packaging, quality assurance, … problems encountered in scientific computing are universal in computing.

You might think that you are only interested in writing algorithms,or processing data, but this code will have to live on. My experience is that it is terribly hard to have code in a lab that can be somewhat shared and live on when people move away to another lab, or stop having time to maintain the code. Talks like

can probably be of some use.

Also, don’t underestimate the fact that some other communities might have solved some of the issues you struggle with. When dealing with real-world problems, and not only developing algorithms on a few set of test data, a large fraction of the code lines and related to IO, interfaces, data massaging… Two years ago, I remember that I was not terribly interested in the web-development talks. I tried to be open-minded and listen to them, but… Now I have done a bit of web development myself, and I have played with some of the famous ‘web frameworks’. I can tell you, there are some really interesting concepts there. The web guys have managed to extract a set of patterns from the problems they face and provide excellent abstracts to data handling and display. Can we learn from them? I am especially interested in getting more insight from things like ORMs (object relational mappers), and understanding better the web frameworks:

And finally, one more reason to come: it is so nice to actually get to meet in real life people, and have a chat.

So, see you there, for those who live in France.

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