Programming using Python

Christian Meeßen

General Information

Language English
Cost Free of charge
Level Beginner
Registration Period 2021-09-20 to 2021-10-01






You do not need to set up an Indico account to register.

Please note: To allow for a fairer distribution of seats across the various centres, the initial seat count per centre has been limited. We encourage those that want to register after the seats for their centre have been taken, to register on the waiting list instead. Remaining seats will be distributed among the waiting list according to first-come-first-serve. Persons on the waiting list will be notified regarding their registration on the work day after the end of the registration period.

Code of Conduct

We adhere to the Software Carpentries' Code of Conduct.
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Workshop Content

This workshop is conceptualised as a two-day event that will help you to understand basic concepts in programming languages using Python:

  • Understand fundamental concepts like data types, functions or loops
  • Using libraries
  • Working with arrays
  • Reading and plotting data
  • Creating and using functions

Installing the Required Tools

In this workshop, we will be using Python 3 and Spyder or Thonny as code editor. Please follow the instructions below to install the tool of your choice.

Please make sure you use an up-to-date operating system. If you experience issues during the installation, especially permission issues, please contact your local IT support.

Spyder or Thonny?

Whether you want to install Spyder or Thonny is up to you. Both applications are IDE's (Integrated Development Environment) and are available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Thonny is a very basic IDE specifically targeting Python beginners. Thonny will provide you with a ready-to-use Python environment.

In contrast, Spyder is more sophisticated and more tailored to scientific applications. For Spyder, you will have to download and install Python first, before installing Spyder itself.

See the instructions below on how to proceed.

Installing Spyder

In this workshop, we will be using Spyder with Python 3. The minimum requirements are that you have installed the following:

  • Python 3.x
  • Installed libraries for spyder, numpy and matplotlib

If you do not know how to start, we suggest you to install Miniforge. Miniforge is available for Windows, MacOS and Linux. To install miniforge, please open and download an appropriate installer from section Download - Miniforge3. For more detailed instructions, please visit this page.

Installing Thonny

Navigate to and download the latest version for your operating system. Open the executable and follow the instructions of the installer. To install the required packages, please follow the instructions on this page.

Required Materials

Download the required datasets and setup a working directory following these steps:

  1. Download and
  2. Create a folder called swc-python in a location of your choice.
  3. Move the downloaded files to the folder swc-python
  4. Unzip the files.

You should now see two folders called data and code in the swc-python directory.