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 Installing 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 important points to familiarize yourself with Python. First, everything is dynamically typed. There is no need to declare and initialize 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:

<class 'int'>
<class 'list'>
<class 'str'>

Second, if you have a MATLAB background remember that indexing in Python starts from zero (and is done with square brackets):

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

Finally, often there is no need to reinvent the wheel. SciPy and NumPy are battle-hardened libraries that offer a vast variety of functions for most needs. Consult the documentation and remember that you can always ask the IPython interpreter for help with a question mark at the beginning or end of a function:

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

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