A Gentle Introduction to Python

Found below is content for a workshop entitled A Gentle Introduction to Python, prepared for attendees of Penn State University’s Liberal Arts Scholarship and Technology Summit (LASTS).

Workshop description:

Stop fighting the computer and instead make it do your bidding. Learn how to get up and running with Python, a general-purpose coding language that is both newbie friendly yet very powerful. Python is used at large organizations such as Google, Yahoo!, CERN, and NASA, and in many famous applications including Youtube, Dropbox, Instagram, and Reddit. Attendees in this workshop will get a taste of basic computer science concepts via in-class examples and have opportunities to apply the knowledge in guided exercises. No coding experience is necessary. Learn by doing — bring your computer.

The exercises can be viewed here and the workshop’s source code is available. The workshop was conducted without presentation slides; the workshop’s site served as the presentation. The site relies on reStructuredText for content, Python for code samples and graph generation, and Dexy for bundling everything into HTML.

This project is based loosely on the learn-x-the-hard-way framework by Zed Shaw.

Content may be used with permission. Some content is borrowed from or inspired by exercises from my upcoming book Learn Stats in 10,000 Hours, a book that teaches Python-powered computational statistics to absolute beginners.