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Intro to Python

Washington University, Summer 2014.

Schedule | Assignments

Course Resources


  • Python syntax (e.g. conditionals, flow control, functions)
  • Object-oriented programming (objects, classes, instances, inheritance)
  • Algorithmic concepts (e.g. recursion, computational complexity)
  • Data structures (trade-offs, use cases, and implementation)
  • Source/version control (git and Github)
  • Software testing
  • Interacting with other programs (web scraping, APIs)
  • Databases (SQL, MongoDB)
  • How to apply these concepts in your own research projects (building classifiers, natural language processing, etc)

Setting up your development environment

The setup can often be the hardest part, so don't get discouraged. If you get into trouble feel free to send me an email.
  1. Install Homebrew (
  2. From the Terminal type in the following: ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
  3. From the command line (you may need to do this in a new terminal window), install Python (version 2.7.6): brew install python
  4. Setup Python as your OSX framework version. This info is in the output from when you install python, so copy the commands and use them, but they should look like this: mkdir ~/Frameworks ln -s "/usr/local/Cellar/python/2.7.6/Frameworks/Python.framework" ~/Frameworks

If you are on a PC install the Activestate Python (as described in Learn Python the Hard Way). Make sure it is Python 2.7.6.


Matt Dickenson (@mcdickenson, email)