Python coding workshops to fill gap for research community

September 07, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Institute for CyberScience (ICS) staff members will host a series of workshops this fall to benefit researchers who are eager to improve their computer programming skills or even start developing a new interest in programming. The workshops, which are free and open to all Penn State faculty, staff and students, will focus on the Python programming language and will take place throughout the fall semester. Advance registration is required.

Patrick Dudas and Adam Lavely, co-hosts of the workshop series, said they felt it was necessary to begin hosting these workshops based on conversations they had with researchers. As members of ICS’s Advanced Technical Services team, Lavely and Dudas both consult with members of the Penn State research community on ways to use high-performance computing methods and data visualization in research.

“Many of the faculty, staff and students who I’ve spoken to have a basic understanding of R [a programming language] but they tend to want to learn higher-end programming, or they are new to programming and want to know where best to start,” said Dudas, a data visualization software engineer with ICS, the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, and the Eberly College of Science. “Python seems to be what is requested the most.”

The workshops also help expand the types of support that ICS provides to researchers, said Lavely.

“ICS has done a lot of training and support for people who are already used to working with supercomputers, but part of our mission is to help people compute, however they compute, wherever they compute,” said Lavely, a computational scientist with both ICS and Penn State’s Department of Aerospace Engineering. “That’s why I wanted to be involved.”

Lavely and Dudas designed the workshops to be modular, so that researchers could attend one or more workshops without needing to attend all workshops.

Workshop 1, the Basics, will be held three times, on Sept. 11, 18 and 25. It will cover the basics of Python and Jupyter, an open-source platform that allows users to see the results of their coding in a web browser. These workshops will be using resources hosted by Penn State’s Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) group.

Workshop 2, Beyond the Basics, will take place on Oct. 9 and 23 and will focus on importing and plotting data, Python libraries and saving different types of files.

Workshop 3, Speeding up Python, will take place on Nov. 6 and 13 and will highlight ways to speed up Python code using built-in tools.

Workshop 4, APIs and Python, will be held on Dec. 4 and 11 and will explore ways to use publicly available data, such as from Twitter’s application programming interface (API), in Python. Users will learn how to ‘scrape’ data and integrate it into Python.

Each workshop will be held from 3 to 4:30 in Room 106 of Boucke Building. Anyone interested in attending must register in advance.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 07, 2018