This course is best followed if you can reproduce the examples and tutorials provided with it. To do so, you will need to install in your machine a series of software packages. These are all open-source and available for free to download.

There are three main pathways to install required Python libraries on your machine.

  • A (1) standard one is installing the software on your operating system without using the command line interface.
  • A (2) minimalist one will provide basic Python resources and the ability to expand them.
  • A (3) comprehensive one will install not only a Python stack but also several useful libraries (including some from the programming language, R).

If you want to learn to explore Python and its capabilities, while going beyond this course, I recommend option 2. If all else fails, option 3 is the last resort for this course. It is guaranteed to work and very powerful, so you will not be limited in any way. But it does not allow you to install new libraries, which means you are limited by what it offers.

The difference in these options can be explained through the illustration of a living place. If you own a house, you might be able to expand it, paint the walls, add new furniture, even keep a dog. This is akin to the minimalist approach which gives you everything you need and the freedom to build upon it. Instead, if you rent a house, in most cases you will not be allowed to make any changes. A comprehensive approach gives you everything too, but no freedom to experiment with new python libraries. The standard option is like visiting a hotel where others service you for a bit without you having to do the heavy lifting. You choose what works for you!