Introduction to Python

Python is a modern, general-purpose, object-oriented, high-level programming language. First make sure you have a working python environment and dependencies (see Install Python and MNE-Python). If you are completely new to python, don’t worry, it’s just like any other programming language, only easier. Here are a few great resources to get you started:

We highly recommend watching the Scipy videos and reading through these sites to get a sense of how scientific computing is done in Python.

Here are few bulletin points to familiarise yourself with python:

  • Everything is dynamically typed. No need to declare simple data structures or variables separately.
a = 3
print(type(a))
b = [1, 2.5, 'This is a string']
print(type(b))
c = 'Hello world!'
print(type(c))

Out:

<type 'int'>
<type 'list'>
<type 'str'>
  • If you come from a background of matlab, remember that indexing in python starts from zero:
a = [1, 2, 3, 4]
print('This is the zeroth value in the list: {}'.format(a[0]))

Out:

This is the zeroth value in the list: 1
  • No need to reinvent the wheel. Scipy and Numpy are battle field tested libraries that have a vast variety of functions for your needs. Consult the documentation and remember, you can always ask the IPython interpreter for help with a question mark at the end of a function:

    >>> import numpy as np
    >>> np.arange?
    

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