Day 18: Exploring Python for Data Analysis

As advice from “Step by step approach to perform data analysis using Python”:

First, start learning NumPy as it is the fundamental package for scientific computing with Python. A good understanding of Numpy will help you use tools like Pandas effectively.

Next let us check out “A Complete Python Tutorial to Learn Data Science from Scratch”.

It is provided a long list of  libraries for scientific computations and data analysis:

  • NumPy stands for Numerical Python. The most powerful feature of NumPy is n-dimensional array. This library also contains basic linear algebra functions, Fourier transforms,  advanced random number capabilities and tools for integration with other low level languages like Fortran, C and C++
  • SciPy stands for Scientific Python. SciPy is built on NumPy. It is one of the most useful library for variety of high level science and engineering modules like discrete Fourier transform, Linear Algebra, Optimization and Sparse matrices.
  • Matplotlib for plotting vast variety of graphs, starting from histograms to line plots to heat plots.. You can use Pylab feature in ipython notebook (ipython notebook –pylab = inline) to use these plotting features inline. If you ignore the inline option, then pylab converts ipython environment to an environment, very similar to Matlab. You can also use Latex commands to add math to your plot.
  • Pandas for structured data operations and manipulations. It is extensively used for data munging and preparation. Pandas were added relatively recently to Python and have been instrumental in boosting Python’s usage in data scientist community.
  • Scikit Learn for machine learning. Built on NumPy, SciPy and matplotlib, this library contains a lot of effiecient tools for machine learning and statistical modeling including classification, regression, clustering and dimensionality reduction.
  • Statsmodels for statistical modeling. Statsmodels is a Python module that allows users to explore data, estimate statistical models, and perform statistical tests. An extensive list of descriptive statistics, statistical tests, plotting functions, and result statistics are available for different types of data and each estimator.
  • Seaborn for statistical data visualization. Seaborn is a library for making attractive and informative statistical graphics in Python. It is based on matplotlib. Seaborn aims to make visualization a central part of exploring and understanding data.
  • Bokeh for creating interactive plots, dashboards and data applications on modern web-browsers. It empowers the user to generate elegant and concise graphics in the style of D3.js. Moreover, it has the capability of high-performance interactivity over very large or streaming datasets.
  • Blaze for extending the capability of Numpy and Pandas to distributed and streaming datasets. It can be used to access data from a multitude of sources including Bcolz, MongoDB, SQLAlchemy, Apache Spark, PyTables, etc. Together with Bokeh, Blaze can act as a very powerful tool for creating effective visualizations and dashboards on huge chunks of data.
  • Scrapy for web crawling. It is a very useful framework for getting specific patterns of data. It has the capability to start at a website home url and then dig through web-pages within the website to gather information.
  • SymPy for symbolic computation. It has wide-ranging capabilities from basic symbolic arithmetic to calculus, algebra, discrete mathematics and quantum physics. Another useful feature is the capability of formatting the result of the computations as LaTeX code.
  • Requests for accessing the web. It works similar to the the standard python library urllib2 but is much easier to code. You will find subtle differences with urllib2 but for beginners, Requests might be more convenient.

Additional libraries, you might need:

  • os for Operating system and file operations
  • networkx and igraph for graph based data manipulations
  • regular expressions for finding patterns in text data
  • BeautifulSoup for scrapping web. It is inferior to Scrapy as it will extract information from just a single webpage in a run.

End of Day 18.

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