Dražen's humble introduction to

Becoming a master statistician with IPython notebook

What's IPython notebook? A web interface for a scientific Python shell.

Main features:

  • the power of Python at your fingertips :)
  • IPython, a shell specialized for scientific workflows
  • Markdown annotations as a perfect "lab notebook"


What's so good about Python?

Python is a dynamic, interpreted language...

In [1]:

... covering all the usual stuff, such as loops and branches...

In [2]:
text = 'We are the knights who say "ni"'
for word in text.split(' '):
    if len(word)>3:
        text = text.replace(word, word.upper())
We are the KNIGHTS who say "NI"

... letting you choose your own paradigm, be it functional...

In [3]:
text = 'We are the knights who say "ni"'
make_big = lambda x : x.upper() if len(x)>3 else x
big_words = map(make_big, text.split(' '))
print(' '.join(big_words))
We are the KNIGHTS who say "NI"

... or object-oriented...

In [4]:
class Text():
    def __init__(self, content):
        self.content = content
    def make_big(self):
        for word in self.content.split(' '):
            if len(word)>3:
                self.content = self.content.replace(word, word.upper())
    def __str__(self):
        return self.content
text = Text('We are the knights who say "ni"')
We are the KNIGHTS who say "NI"

... or one-liners for the lazy...

In [5]:
print(' '.join([word.upper() if len(word)>3 else word for word in 'We are the knights who say "ni"'.split(' ')]))
We are the KNIGHTS who say "NI"

But most of all it's pythonic.

In [10]:
from googlemaps import GoogleMaps
gmaps = GoogleMaps()
directions = gmaps.directions('Argentinienstrasse 8', 'Ottakringer Brauerei')
for step in directions['Directions']['Routes'][0]['Steps']:
Head <b>east</b> on <b>Argonnenstraße</b> toward <b>Dolomitenstraße</b>
Take the 1st right onto <b>Dolomitenstraße</b>
Turn left onto <b>Aussiger Straße</b>
Take the 2nd right onto <b>Sandgasse</b>
Continue onto <b>Lechstraße</b>
Continue onto <b>Vilsstraße</b>
Turn left onto <b>Walhalla-Allee</b>
Continue onto <b>Osttangente</b>
Take the <b>B8</b> ramp to <b>Passau/<wbr/>Deggendorf/<wbr/>Straubing/<wbr/>Möbel-/<wbr/>Bauzentrum</b>
Turn left onto <b>Straubinger Straße/<wbr/>B8</b><div class="">Continue to follow B8</div>
Turn right onto <b>St2145</b>
Merge onto <b>A3</b> via the ramp to <b>Passau</b><div class="google_impnote">Partial toll road</div><div class="google_impnote">Entering Austria</div>
Continue onto <b>A8</b><div class="google_impnote">Partial toll road</div>
Slight left onto <b>A25</b><div class="google_impnote">Toll road</div>
At the interchange <b>Knoten Haid</b>, keep left and follow signs for <b>A1/<wbr/>E55/<wbr/>E60</b> toward <b>Wien/<wbr/>Linz/<wbr/>Ungarn/<wbr/>Tschechien</b><div class="">Continue to follow A1</div><div class="google_impnote">Partial toll road</div>
Continue onto <b>Wr. Str./<wbr/>B1</b><div class="">Continue to follow B1</div>
Turn left onto <b>Bräuhausbrücke/<wbr/>Stampferg.</b>
Continue onto <b>Bergmillerg.</b>
Turn right onto <b>Linzer Str.</b>
Turn left to stay on <b>Linzer Str.</b>
Turn right to stay on <b>Linzer Str.</b>
Continue onto <b>Müller-Guttenbrunn-Straße</b>
Continue onto <b>Kinkpl.</b>
Turn left onto <b>Tinterstr.</b>
Turn right onto <b>Flötzersteig</b>
Continue onto <b>Joachimsthalerpl.</b>
Continue onto <b>Wernhardtstr.</b>
Continue onto <b>Spetterbrücke</b>
Continue onto <b>Gablenzg.</b>
Turn left onto <b>Possingerg.</b>
Continue onto <b>Schuhmeierpl.</b>
Continue onto <b>Wattg.</b>
Turn right onto <b>Ottakringer Str.</b><div class="google_note">Destination will be on the right</div>
In [2]:
import Image
im = Image.open("data/lena.jpg")
im.rotate(90).show() # if we want to rotate Lena to a horizontal position...

(or for servers...)

In [1]:
import Image
im = Image.open("data/lena.jpg")
#im.show() # <- this is what you would normally do, but to embed it on a server I make it a bit more complicated:
subplot(121) # 1 row, 2 columns, image 1
imshow(numpy.asarray(im)) # we convert an image to a numpy 2d array and plot it as an image
im2 = im.rotate(90) # if we want to rotate Lena to a horizontal position...
subplot(122) # 1 row, 2 columns, image 2

And the list of modules is endless!

For more on Python (with a touch of Monty Python inside), I recommend this guy's tutorial:



Basically Python with imported scipy libraries and better integration with your GUI and computational hardware. Some nice features...

Embedded plots

In [11]:
x = linspace(0, 2*pi)
y = sin(x)

Auto-completion and documentation

In [19]:
[0, 1, 2, 4]

Clean stack traces

In [16]:
def divide():
    a = 1
    b = 4
    c = b / (a-1)

ZeroDivisionError                         Traceback (most recent call last)
<ipython-input-16-a8416233c05c> in <module>()
      4     c = b / (a-1)
----> 6 divide()

<ipython-input-16-a8416233c05c> in divide()
      2     a = 1
      3     b = 4
----> 4     c = b / (a-1)
      6 divide()

ZeroDivisionError: integer division or modulo by zero

Best of all - you can install it on your server to have a consistent environment

sudo apt-get install ipython

IPython notebook

The ultimate lab notebook! Inside it you can use cool features such as:

  • Markdown
  • syntax highlighting

Can you believe it? I used to code in Java!

private static int maxValue(char[] chars) {
    int max = chars[0];
    for (int ktr = 0; ktr < chars.length; ktr++) {
        if (chars[ktr] > max) {
            max = chars[ktr];
    return max;

  • $\LaTeX$ formulæ

$E = mc^2 \ne \sum_{i \in N}e^i + \int_0^\infty e^{-x}dx$

  • videos!
In [18]:
from IPython.lib.display import YouTubeVideo
# I just learned about this very feature today from this video :)


Now that we know what's available, let's try to do something realistic...



Installing everything in Ubuntu is easy

sudo apt-get install ipython-notebook

In another OS it might give you some headache - better to install a Python distribution such as Enthought or Python(x,y)

Take a stroll to the cheese shop for the necessary packages

sudo pip install googlemaps PIL



It was a nice experience learning Python. A nice afternoon.

-- Donald E. Knuth