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Python in Data Science: An Indispensable Tool

·7 mins· 0
Technical Introduction Guide Python Data Science OpenShift RHODS AI/ML Numpy Pandas Matplotlib Seaborn Scikit-learn PyTorch Data Science Python OpenShift Software Development
Table of Contents

Introduction #

Hello, tech enthusiasts, and happy Independence Day for my fellow Americans! Nick Miethe here from, back from a short break and bringing you another ‘meaty’ piece of insight from my world of tech. This time, we’re diving into a topic which combines some of my long-time favorite technologies, all of which have lately been growing tremendously in popular usage - Python for Data Science (plus on OpenShift).

The rapidly evolving field of data science has necessitated the use of languages that are flexible, easy to understand, and have broad community support. Python, with its comprehensive set of libraries and frameworks, has emerged as a leading choice for data scientists globally. From data manipulation to advanced machine learning algorithms, Python proves to be a versatile tool.

But why Python, versus languages explicitly designed for Data Science or numerical computation, such as R, Scala, or Julia? That’s a question I’ve heard many time! Python has become the lingua franca of data science, not merely because of its ease of learning and wide-ranging capabilities, but also due to its vast collection of powerful libraries such as Numpy, Pandas, Matplotlib, and more. These tools offer data scientists an unprecedented level of versatility and efficiency, while helping to lower the barriers to entry into an already challenging industry, making Python a crucial tool for many in the field.

Synopsis #

In this post, we will peel back the layers of Python’s significance in data science. Starting with a walk through some of the key libraries and frameworks, we’ll move on to discuss how Red Hat’s OpenShift Data Science (RHODS) can dramatically augment Python-based data science workflows.

So, whether you’re an experienced Pythonista looking to enhance your data science workflows, or a curious technophile interested in the role of Python in this data-driven world, this post is for you. Join me in exploring the Python landscape in data science, from its humble beginnings to its current influential status. Let’s dig in!

Why Python for Data Science? #

Python’s simplicity and readability make it a favorite among data scientists. It enables swift prototyping and iterative development, which are essential in data science projects where requirements often evolve as insights are uncovered. Additionally, Python’s extensive ecosystem of libraries and frameworks caters to practically every aspect of data science.

Easy Integration and Interoperability #

Python offers interoperability with other languages like C/C++ and Java, making it ideal for integrating legacy codebases into new data science projects. Its support for multiple platforms (Windows, Linux, macOS) ensures wide applicability.

Extensive Libraries and Frameworks #

Python’s strength lies in its rich ecosystem of libraries and frameworks that simplify the implementation of complex data science tasks. From Numpy and Pandas for data manipulation, to Matplotlib and Seaborn for data visualization, to Scikit-learn for machine learning, Python’s libraries make it an all-in-one solution for data science.

Strong Community Support #

Python’s large, active community provides vast resources for learning and troubleshooting. This support ensures continuous improvement and evolution of Python capabilities in response to changing data science trends.

Python Libraries and Frameworks for Data Science #

Python’s extensive suite of libraries and frameworks are designed to address various stages of the data science pipeline. Here’s a rundown of the most popular ones:

Data Analysis Libraries #

  1. Numpy: A fundamental package for numerical computation in Python, it supports operations on large, multi-dimensional arrays and matrices. Alternative: Julia
  2. Pandas: Offers powerful data structures for data manipulation and analysis, like DataFrames. Alternative: Datatable

Data Visualization Libraries #

  1. Matplotlib: Allows creation of static, animated, and interactive visualizations in Python. Alternative: Plotly
  2. Seaborn: Based on Matplotlib, it provides a high-level interface for drawing attractive and informative statistical graphics. Alternative: Bokeh

Machine Learning Libraries #

  1. Scikit-Learn: Offers simple and efficient tools for predictive data analysis. Ideal for both supervised and unsupervised machine learning. Alternative: TensorFlow
  2. Keras: A high-level neural networks API, ideal for deep learning. Alternative: PyTorch

Python Library Examples #

Numpy #

Numpy, short for ‘Numerical Python’, is a fundamental package for scientific computing in Python. It provides support for arrays (including multi-dimensional arrays), along with a host of functions to perform operations on these arrays.

Here’s a simple example demonstrating how Numpy can be used to perform element-wise multiplication of arrays.

import numpy as np

# Define two arrays
array1 = np.array([1, 2, 3])
array2 = np.array([4, 5, 6])

# Perform element-wise multiplication
result = array1 * array2

print(result)  # Outputs: array([ 4, 10, 18])

Pandas #

Pandas is another powerhouse Python library that provides flexible data structures (like DataFrames) to make data manipulation and analysis effortless.

Below is a small example showing how to create a DataFrame and perform some basic operations.

import pandas as pd

# Create a DataFrame
df = pd.DataFrame({
    'A': [1, 2, 3],
    'B': [4, 5, 6],
    'C': ['p', 'q', 'r']

# Display the DataFrame

# Filter rows where 'A' is less than 3
filtered_df = df[df['A'] < 3]


Scikit-learn #

Scikit-learn is a powerful Python library for machine learning. It provides simple and efficient tools for predictive data analysis and is built upon Numpy, SciPy, and Matplotlib.

Here’s how you can use Scikit-learn to perform linear regression:

from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
from sklearn.linear_model import LinearRegression

# Assume X and y are your features and target
X_train, X_test, y_train, y_test = train_test_split(X, y, test_size=0.2, random_state=42)

regressor = LinearRegression(), y_train)  # Fit the model to the training data

y_pred = regressor.predict(X_test)  # Make predictions on the test data

PyTorch #

PyTorch is an open-source Python library for machine learning and deep learning. It provides two high-level features: tensor computation with strong GPU acceleration and deep neural networks built on a tape-based autograd system.

Here’s a simple example of defining a neural network model in PyTorch:

import torch
import torch.nn as nn
import torch.nn.functional as F

class Net(nn.Module):

    def __init__(self):
        super(Net, self).__init__()
        self.conv1 = nn.Conv2d(1, 6, 3)
        self.conv2 = nn.Conv2d(6, 16, 3)
        self.fc1 = nn.Linear(16 * 6 * 6, 120)
        self.fc2 = nn.Linear(120, 84)
        self.fc3 = nn.Linear(84, 10)

    def forward(self, x):
        x = F.max_pool2d(F.relu(self.conv1(x)), (2, 2))
        x = F.max_pool2d(F.relu(self.conv2(x)), 2)
        x = x.view(-1, self.num_flat_features(x))
        x = F.relu(self.fc1(x))
        x = F.relu(self.fc2(x))
        x = self.fc3(x)
        return x

    def num_flat_features(self, x):
        size = x.size()[1:]
        num_features = 1
        for s in size:
            num_features *= s
        return num_features

net = Net()

Leveraging OpenShift Data Science (RHODS) for Python Data Science Development #

Red Hat’s OpenShift Data Science (RHODS) is an add-on to OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) that provides a comprehensive environment for developing, training, testing, and deploying machine learning models. It offers several benefits for Python-based data science development:

Integrated Development Environment #

RHODS provides Jupyter notebooks, a favorite among Python data scientists for interactive development and visualization. Notebooks facilitate collaboration, version control, and reproducibility of data science experiments.

Scalable Resources #

Leveraging the power of Kubernetes, RHODS ensures that your Python data science workloads can scale as per the need. Be it deploying a small model or training a massive deep learning algorithm, RHODS has got you covered.

AI/ML Tools Integration #

RHODS integrates with popular AI/ML tools like TensorFlow, PyTorch, and Scikit-Learn, making it easy for Python data scientists to use these tools within the RHODS environment.

Read much more about Data Science on OpenShift from our past posts!

Conclusion #

Python’s simplicity, flexibility, and extensive ecosystem make it a compelling choice for data science. The breadth of Python’s data science libraries, coupled with the scalability and integrated toolset of OpenShift Data Science, allows data scientists to accelerate their Python-based data science development workflow. The above examples illustrate how several of Python’s libraries can be used in various stages of the data science pipeline, from data manipulation and analysis to machine learning.

From this post, we can conclude that Python’s popularity in data science is well deserved. Its versatility and the backing of a rich ecosystem of libraries, frameworks, and community support make it a top contender in the data science arena. The addition of RHODS further empowers Python data scientists, offering a flexible, scalable, and integrated platform for developing advanced data science solutions.

References #

  1. OpenShift Data Science (RHODS)
  2. Developer sentiment around AI/ML - Stack Overflow
  3. Numpy
  4. Pandas
  5. Matplotlib
  6. Seaborn
  7. Scikit-Learn
  8. Keras