PyCon UK 2015


If you are a working scientist, data scientist or digital humanities scholar, then this track is for you. Whether you have never used Python before and want to dip your toe in the water, or you are a fully-fledged Pythonista, looking to expand your repertoire, the PyCon UK Science Track will offer you three days of learning, collaboration and fun, and a chance to meet other researchers using Python.

The PyCon UK Science Track will run from Saturday 19th September - Monday 21st Book now for just £99 or learn about sponsorship opportunities.


  • Saturday
    • Keynote: Landing on a comet: From planning to reality,
      Simon Sheridan, a developer on the Ptolemy instrument aboard the Rosetta space mission to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, '67P'.
    • Track opening: Forming a PyCon UK research community Sarah Mount, University of Wolverhampton
    • Workshop: Accelerating Scientific Code with Numba,
      Graham Markall, Continuum Analytics

      This tutorial will provide an overview of Numba, a just-in-time Python compiler focused on numerical computing. Originally aimed at computations using Numpy arrays, it has been expanded to work with other Python types and can speed up computations that require more than just fast linear algebra operations. Numba targets both CPUs and CUDA GPUs by generating native code using the LLVM compiler infrastructure.

      This introduction aims to span the breadth of use cases rather than focusing on a single area in depth. This is in order to enable the selection of appropriate portions of code to use with Numba, and the correct selection of Numba's facilities in each case.

      Workshop page...

    • Workshop: Getting started with testing scientific programs
      Martin Jones, University of Edinburgh

      When writing programs for scientific research, we tend to be focussed on getting results, so testing is generally not a priority. Often, this means that our data-processing pipelines end up incorporating programs that don't have test suites. Examples of high-profile retractions due to software errors illustrate the dangers of this approach.

      This session will be a gentle introduction to testing, aimed at people writing scientific software who would like to start taking advantage of automated testing. We'll start with Python's built-in tools and moving on to using the Nose testing framework. We'll look at the problems that testing can solve, and see some best-practises for writing tests.

      The goal of this training session is for attendees to come away with

      1. an understanding of some basic testing concepts,
      2. some hands-on experience of running tests and interpreting the output, and
      3. an idea of how to start applying these tools to their own projects.

      Attendees should have a basic knowledge of Python and should be familiar with the idea of functions, conditions and exceptions.

      Workshop page...

  • Sunday
  • Monday a collaborative open science sprint where you can bring along code you are working on and we will put you into teams to help improve it. Good tasks to work on might include:
    • figuring out whether Python is a good fit for your needs
    • speeding-up your code
    • writing developer or user documentation
    • adding tests to legacy programs
    • working out how to use git most effectively (other version control systems are available)
    • packaging your software so that it can easily be installed
    Our friends from Overleaf will be joining us for this, they run a collaborative cloud service for LaTeX users (think: Google docs for LaTeX) which has a very simple push-to-submit service for a number of Open Access journals and open science services, such as F1000, Figshare, PeerJ, arXiv and Scientific Data. This means that any software or figures you produce on the Monday Sprint can be given a DOI and easily shared with the scientific community.
    Watch this space for more announcements - there may even be prizes :)

Open science

Why is open science so important to an community like PyCon UK? Python is Free software which means that anyone who uses Python has a right to modify and redistribute it. Just like science, software is improved by having many people openly improve on the state of the art. Python has a reputation for being a productive language, and has had a number of success stories in science and engineering. At PyCon UK you will find a conference full of people who understand that Reproducible research needs open, recomputable software!

Book now for just £99!

Book here - just select the Scientist ticket on the registration form.

Sponsor us!

PyCon UK is a community run conference - every delegate has a paid ticket, including the volunteer organisers. Every year we sell out before the conference, and we are able to put on an amazing weekend of talks, workshops and fun because we have a wonderfully generous group of sponsors.

2015 marks the first year that PyCon UK will run a dedicated track for researchers. Since PyCon UK started, we have accepted a growing number of talks from people working in the sciences and digital humanities, and we expect this trend to continue. Earlier this year the PSF and NUMFocus announced funding for a new working group, and the future for Python in research seems more assured than ever.

PyCon UK has a range of sponsorship options for organisations who want to support this work and have access to over 300 of the most dedicated Python users in the UK. Sponsorship opportunities start as low as £1000 for Supporter level sponsors. In particular, we are keen to find someone to sponsor payment relief for research students. Benefits to sponsors include:

  • sponsor logos will be displayed on the conference website
  • any supplied marketing material will be included in the delegate swag bags and banners may be displayed around the conference venue
  • All sponsors are eligible to take part, for free, in the PyCon UK recruitment event (non-sponsors will need to pay a fee of £500, in advance, to take part)
  • In addition sponsors will be given booth space (please tell us what you have in mind for your booth)
If this sounds interesting to you, please email us directly on

Keep informed

Our sponsors

The PyCon UK Science Track has been made possible by our generous sponsors:

Software Sustainability Institute logo Overleaf logo