Instruction on the software installation and downloading the PTF data

The summer school is going to feature multiple interactive sessions, starting in the second day of the summer school. Before each interactive session, we will start with a science talk which will introduce the science background on a specific topic. The interactive session will have a demonstration of how PTF data can be used in research for the science topic, then we will provide PTF data as well as a research problem related to the science talk. In the interactive sessions, participants at the workshop will be asked to analyze real PTF data. For this purpose, we highly recommend the use of the Python programming language. We expect participants to have python installed and operational prior to arriving to the meeting. We also recommend some basic familiarity with the programming language prior to the meeting. While there will be a brief python tutorial, it will not cover everything needed for the interactive sessions.

For those that do not already have python installed, we recommend the Anaconda scientific distribution, which is available for free: at Anaconda scientific. Instructions for installation are available on the their website.

For people who have python on their laptops already, you may want to check and see if your version contains all of the required packages (see below) or not. If not, please download Anaconda version. This installation is independent, and will not inerfer with your existing version. One of the reasons that we prefer the Anaconda distribution is that python and all its related software is automatically installed in a users home directory into the ~/anaconda/ folder. As such there are no hidden files, and sudo privileges are not needed for installation. Furthermore, the installation automatically adjusts the user's path such that the anaconda version of python is the default version. To test that you have successfully installed the package, open a new terminal window, and try the following from a terminal command line:

$> which python

The output should be the following (where /path/to/home/directory/ is the path your home directory, which will be different for all users):


Following the successful installation of python the following commands should execute from a command prompt without issue:

>$ python

>$ ipython

If both of those commands work, then one should test if all the necessary modules have been installed. This can be done in the following manner:

>$ python

>>> import numpy

>>> import scipy

>>> import glob

>>> import astropy

>>> import matplotlib

If none of those commands return an error, then your python installation is almost ready for the workshop. Finally, one additional module is necessary for the workshop (astroML), which can be installed from the command line using pip (a python package manager that is included in the anaconda distribution):

$ pip install astroML

$ pip install astroML_addons

We request that the students install an image display software, such as ds9 on their laptops. This software can be downloaded from here.

We have five hands-on sessions. Each session will have a couple of home work problems. The required PTF data should be downloaded before arriving Caltech. Here is the link for the datasets. The tarball for each session (1-5) contains the data and an ipython notebook which has the information on the home work sets. The detailed description of the home work exercises can also be found by clicking on the link attached to each hands-on session on the agenda page.