Why Python distributions
Python itself is a programming language, and it provides a minimal set of core functions. For most scientific computing, additional libraries will need to be installed. This can be a burden, it can sometimes be tricky, and there is plenty of opportunity for version mismatches and other conflicts. We have chosen, therefore, to make available a commmercial ‘distribution’ of Python that includes hundreds of libraries, prebuilt. For many applications, the included libraries will be sufficient.
Anaconda Python (Continuum)
Continuum Analytics is another consulting company, founded by some of the same people who founded Enthought, that provides an installer called Anaconda for multiple operating systems that includes many libraries. We have installed two expanded versions of this package to provide Python 2 and Python 3, both with many extra scientific Python packages beyond the already-large set that are included by default with Anaconda Python.
To use the Anaconda distribution, use either
$ module load python-anaconda3
$ module load python-anaconda2
Please note that a special Anaconda version of R may be included as a part of the Anaconda Python software modules due to the Anaconda Python modules containing Bioconda. Most researchers will instead want to use the Flux-specific version of R installed in its own software module — if you are using both Python and R at the same time, be sure to load the Anaconda Python module first and the R software module second in order to ensure that you get the correct version of R.