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Python is a programming language designed with ease of programming and readable code as its foremost goals. Python has risen to prominence in scientific computing as an excellent tool for doing data conversions, scripting parameter studies, and in general providing the “glue” to hook together many pieces of the scientific workflow.

In this online course, a quick overview of the language is presented, along with a few tricks to improve the utility of Python for engineering and science modeling. Python naturally invites a “try it and see” approach, so mini-exercises are interspersed for practice.

This is not intended as a comprehensive syntax review for Python; rather, it’s enough to get started for beginners (with pointers to more detailed resources), plus a few hints for improvement once you make it out of the beginner phase. Although we will be learning Python on UNIX/Linux, nearly all of the Python language operates the same on Windows; this platform-independence is another contributor to Python's wider appeal.

Originally developed June 2010
Last updated July 2016

Dan Stanzione, TACC (original author), Steve Lantz, Adam Brazier
Cornell Center for Advanced Computing