Python/PyMC Setup

Here are some notes on getting and learning Python.


For Windows: The Enthought Python Distribution is free for “educational users at degree-granting institutions”. It includes numpy, scipy, and matplotlib. Go to the Enthought Download Page and get it if you are eligible. Install it by double-clicking and then clicking ‘Ok’ until it stops asking for approval. Then download and install the PyMC windows installer from the PyMC Downloads Page. Alternative approach: get packages you need individually here.

For Ubuntu or Debian: Type the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install ipython python-setuptools python-dev python-nose python-tk python-numpy python-matplotlib python-scipy python-networkx gfortran libatlas-base-dev
sudo easy_install pymc


Type ipython --pylab to start interactive python, or find the icon in the start menu. To make PyMC run its self-tests, do this:

import numpy
import pymc

Hmm, my PyMC doesn’t have any tests…



To quickly get going in Python read this and this:

If you have used Matlab before then skim this:

Other resources:

6 responses to “Python/PyMC Setup

  1. Kyle

    Other resources that I’ve found useful:

    SciPy 2010 intro tutorial slides:

    A Primer on Scientific Programming with Python:
    Slides (the page is in Norwegian, but the slides aka ‘foils’ are in English):

  2. Python and a number of other wonderful things for scientists to know about software engineering:

  3. I tried the instructions you gave for pymc installation, and easy_install failed with “No module named numpy.distutils.misc_util”. But when I tried pip, it worked fine.

  4. Thanks for this fix, Gary. Scientific python packaging has shifted since I wrote these notes. I think pip is generally preferred to easy_install now. Also, I’ve had great results with anaconda lately.

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