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Introduction to Programming with Python

Instructor: Srdjan Sarikas & Jon Bollback






Programming in science has become a requirement in nearly every field. However, many researchers are unprepared to write computer code to accomplish common tasks, such as extracting information from large data files, simulating processes, and performing data analyses. The purpose of this course is to teach you how to program. In teaching programming concepts we will be using the Python language. This language is useful, elegant, easy to learn, and available on all computer platforms. The course is an intense basic course concentrated into two weeks of teaching. 

  1. Laptop computer
  2. Python 2.7 installed (see installation instructions in the Additional Materials section below)
  3. A plain-text editor installed (see installation instructions)

No previous programming experience or advanced mathematics is required. However, if you have previous programming experience you may not be eligible for ECTS credits but are welcome to attend as an auditor to learn the syntax of Python. For example, if you already know how to use the For, If/Else, and While statements you are likely too advanced for the course.

Please direct any questions regarding eligibility for course credits to both of the instructors by email.




In addition to in class practicals, a programming task will be assigned as homework each day. A total of 6 homework assignments must be completed. Each homework will be graded on the following scale:

1 - Complete with correct answer.

3 - Incomplete, incorrect answer, but effort demonstrated.

5 - Not completed.


You final grade will be the median score of all assignments on a scale of 1 (Excellent) to 5 (Fail).


Schedule (subject to change)

Date Time Location
01-Feb-2016 10:00 - 12:00, 13:30-15:00 Mondi 2
02-Feb-2016 10:00 - 12:00, 13:30-15:00 Mondi 2
03-Feb-2016 10:00 - 12:00, 13:30-15:00 Mondi 2
04-Feb-2016 13:00-15:30 Mondi 2
05-Feb-2016 10:00 - 12:00, 13:00-15:30 Mondi 2
08-Feb-2016 10:00 - 12:00, 13:00-15:30 Mondi 2
09-Feb-2016 10:00 - 12:00, 13:00-15:30 Mondi 2
10 Feb-2016 NO CLASS  
11-Feb-2016 10:00 - 12:00, 13:00-15:30 Mondi 2
12-Feb-2016 10:00 - 12:00, 13:00-15:30 Mondi 2


Assignment | Due Date (These will be determined based on the pace of the teaching.)

Variable assignment and basic operators (See also Operators overview below) | TBA

Iteration | TBA

Flow control | TBA

Python types | TBA

Functions | TBA

File operations (ExampleFileOps.dat) | TBA

Additional Downloads

Below you will find useful links, class notes, and other helpful documents.

Course Info:

  1. Course Syllabus (PDF file)
  2. Instructions for Python and Editor Installation (PDF file)
  3. Overview of Operators in Python (PDF file)

Python Resources:

  1. Python Library Reference (external webpage)
  2. Python Tutor (external webpage)
  3. Think Python (external free PDF book; also on reserve in the IST Library)

IST Library Reserve Books (NOTE: These must stay in the library for all to access at all times):

  1. Think Python
  2. Hello Python
  3. Python Essential Reference

Code Snippets and Other Stuff:

Cheat SheetScript Template

Example Classes/Objects (

Example Text Files:

Lecture Notes:

Lecture Slides

Lecture Slides -- Object Oriented Programming

Monday, Feb 8

Amazing Monty Hall solutions (very cool)