Python in Astronomy – day 3

It is a bit late, but hopefully I can still make sense of my notes about our day 3 at the #pyastro15. We had the conference dinner this last afternoon which explains why I am writing this so late.

It is very interesting to see how the dynamic of the conference is slightly changing as we get to know each other more and more. More interactions, more ideas, suggestions… In conclusion, more progress and hopefully more results in the near future.

We started with a talk about Astroquery by Adam Ginsburg (http://astroquery.readthedocs.org/en/latest/), a really cool tool that can make querying for data almost painless. Really neat software, I have to say. Personally, I have started working with some other people here to add a few additional features. Hopefully we will get something done by the end of the workshop.

That talked was followed by a really engaging talk about LEMON, a photometry package (https://github.com/vterron/lemon) by Victor Terron. Apparently the installation is not easy at the moment, but hey, they are working on it and the software seems to work pretty well. One thing I learn in that talk was that you can do really cool presentations with reveal-js (http://lab.hakim.se/reveal-js/#/). It is a free package if you don’t need to work offline. After that, we heard about AMUSE by Ajern van Elteren (http://amusecode.org), a multipurpose software that tries to gather simulations from several areas. Quite ambitious!

Before the lightning talks, the morning had one final talk by Britton Smith about the yt-project (http://yt-project.org). This is a very cool visualisation tool for simulations that left me wanting to work on an area where I could actively use it. Really neat and as demonstrated with a cool animation by Adam Ginsburg, very easy to use (the whole animation was done with just 2 lines of code).

The lightning talks were as usually quite engaging and very useful. We learnt about the Trillian (http://trillianverse.org) project which tries to connect models-data-science in a painless way for the scientist. Essentially a way of doing more in less time and thus, giving us the opportunity of thinking out of the box and move further. Three other cool projects that caught my attention were Barak (https://github.com/nhmc/Barak) for spectral analysis, which is something that we are all very eager to get done in Python; Prefig (https://github.com/rjsmethurst/prefig), a plotting tool to make nice plots for posters and talks; and Ginga (https://github.com/ejeschke/ginga/), a 2-d visualisation tool for data.

With all these new projects my list of todo’s is getting quite large. It is incredible the amount of cool software being currently developed with Python. It seems that we are going in a very good direction to become more and more effective on our analysis. And by sharing the code with the whole community, the sky will be the limit. To make sure that we all get the right acknowledgement, there is a github project created by @astrofrog that you can find at http://astrofrog.github.io/acknowledgment-generator. It is really important to acknowledge those that help us doing the science that we want!

I read on twitter that we seemed a bit more quiet today. The reason for this is called unconference sessions. We are moving more into sessions where we do stuff rather than just talk about it. I am finding this very efficient and engaging. Of course, since our hands were busy writing code or tutorials, we could not tweet about what it was happening. But we also had a few sessions where we learnt new stuff. Few examples: how to create a setup.py and packaging (see notes at bit.ly/pyastro-packaging), and how to test your code and make it faster (profiling it). Let me add here another awesome project by @astrofrog for doing these kind of tests, called psrecord (https://github.com/astrofrog/psrecord). Tutorials on pyCharm and yt were also quite popular. There was also a session talking about photometry packages written in python regarding to their current status and what needs to be done in the near future. And probably I am forgetting some other unconference sessions, sorry!

As you can see, we don’t have time to get bored. These are really busy days at the #pyastro15 workshop, but I can probably speak for everyone if I say that time flies and we are loving each minute here chatting, working, collaborating… you name it!

I’ll see you in my summary of day 4 and if you cannot wait until then, follow my twitter feed or the #pyastro15 has-tag.

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