What is python?

Python is a universally applicable, higher programming language that is platform-independent. This means that it runs on Windows, Linux and Unix operating systems. Due to the deliberately simple syntax, sometimes even described as minimalistic, it is easy to learn and read, which makes programming in Python easier and much faster than in other languages.

The powerful standard library is one of Python’s greatest strengths: it contains a large number of modules and codes, is specially designed for Internet applications and makes it much easier to create your own programs. Developer Guido van Rossum made Python freely available as open source software, free of charge and community-oriented right from the start. Python is used throughout the world.

Python and machine learning

Python has become the absolute lingua franca due to its universal applicability in a multitude of applications from the fields of data science and machine learning. As a general programming language, Python has great expressiveness and is as easy to use as a domain-specific scripting language.

The biggest advantage, however, lies in the large number of libraries for loading data, visualisations, statistical calculations, speech and image processing – in short, a huge pool of functionalities for general and special applications.

The most popular Python machine learning library is scikit-learn, as Python itself is an open source project. A large number of highly-developed machine learning algorithms and extensive documentation is available here. Python can also interact directly with the code in another environment. Because machine learning is an iterative process in which data determines analysis, it requires a tool that supports rapid iteration and ease of use. Python can do this.

Background and historical origins

The first full version of Python 1.0 was released in 1994, followed by extensions numbered 1.1, 1.2 and so on. Six years later, on 16/10/2000, Python 2.0 was released, and only two years later Python 3.0.

Currently, two versions are available with extensions of Python 2 and 3, but components of 2 cannot be used in 3 due to profound changes. Python 2 will not be developed any more.

By the way, the name “Python” isn’t based on the snake, but goes back to the legendary Flying Circus of Monty Python. Developer Rossum is a big fan of the comedy troupe. The marketing gag started in 1989 and is of course maintained – allusions to it are welcome and often seen in the documentation. Nevertheless, the snake plays the leading role as an image, among other things in the logo. A toolkit was also named after the snake species Boa. In the Python universe, there is also Cobra (another programming language), Anaconda (distribution for data processing), etc.

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