Preparation‎ > ‎


For the boot camp, you'll need both the Python core system and other important packages. You should also install the versioning software called GIT. Last, we'll ask you to download a tarball with examples from class so you can run them on your own. We'll post that tarball later but for now, you should try to get things going with the other installations (instructions below).

Core Python and Major Packages:

Python is a cross-platform programming language so it should work, in principle, the same on any operating system you run a python script within. However, one of the few major drawbacks of Python is that it's not always super easy to install the base code in addition to other major packages. This is particularly true on obscure or outdated operating systems. That said, there are a number of very good, reasonably up-to-date standalone installations that should just work out of the box. We're going to use the distro from Continuum Analytics. If this do not work for you, let us know!

  1. For a fresh installation (recommended for Mac OSX/Linux; required for Windows), navigate on your web browser to the Continuum Analytics Anaconda Installation Instructions

       a. Download the 3.6.X version appropriate to your OS. When in doubt, get the 64-bit/GUI version for your OS.

     b Follow the distribution-specific installation instructions:
        - Linux
           (alternatively: follow the Instructions at
        - Mac OS X
        - Windows

     c. Update the packages
         conda update conda 
    conda update ipython jupyter

  2. If you are upgrading an existing distribution run this on the command line (Mac OS X or Linux):
      sudo pip install -U ipython, numpy, scipy, matplotlib

  3. Go to the Testing it All Works page.

Install Git

Git is a versioning program which helps you keep track of versions of code that you write and also allows you to write code collaboratively with others. Most open source projects use git or something like this. Git is the latest in a long line of versioning code, from RCS, CVS, and SVN heritage.

There are a bunch of ways to install git and gitk.  This site gives you a run down, including command line and GUI versions.


    Here's what you do in the easy method. You can get the latest dmg (disk image) file here which should open after it downloads. Click on the mpkg file:

and then follow the instructions for installation. This will install git at /usr/local/git/bin/git
and gitk at /usr/local/git/bin/gitk. To use these, either add /usr/local/git/bin to your PATH or run those directly from the command line.


   Keep all the defaults as you are presented choices.
   When you fire up git for the first time you should see a window like:


    For Linux, please follow the distribution dependent installation instructions.

Some suggested integrated development environments (a.k.a IDEs):

In no particular order:

    1) PyCharm : see a couple of screenshots and take the video tour

    2) Spyder : easy transition for MATLAB-users; also follow their blog and see one screenshot

    3) PyDev : plugin that turns Eclipse into a Python IDE; see their screenshots

    4) Python Tools for Visual Studio (PTVS) : plugin that turns Visual Studio into a Python IDE; take the video tour