PyCon conference attracts programmers

Kiwi PyCon committee member Kit Randel with a Raspberry Pi, which will be used to teach children...
Kiwi PyCon committee member Kit Randel with a Raspberry Pi, which will be used to teach children how to program computers in the Python language. Photo: Gregor Richardson.
People playing with Python in the Dunedin Centre sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Fortunately, in this case Python is not a snake.

Rather, it is a widely used high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic computer programming language.

And about 200 people from across New Zealand and Australia will flood into the city centre today to learn more about it at the Kiwi PyCon conference over the next three days (September 9-11).

The conference consists of talks, tutorials and  activities, all designed to cater to a wide range of abilities and skill levels, from seasoned professionals to curious amateurs.

Kiwi PyCon committee member Kit Randel said the keynote speakers included Lucy Bain, Barry Warsaw and Janet Toland.

Ms Bain has worked in Silicon Valley, and is at present a developer for Atlassian, an Australian enterprise software company.

She will speak about "What’s holding you back from connecting with others?"

Mr Warsaw has been an active core Python developer since 1995.

His contributions to the language and the community earned him the Python Software Foundation’s Community Service Award in 2013, and he continues to be an active core developer.

He will speak about "Tai Chi Principles for Mindful Programmers".

Dr Toland is a senior lecturer in information systems at Victoria University.

She will speak about "Ethics in the early days: politics and the computing profession".

Mr Randel said a young coders section had  been incorporated into the conference for the first time.

On Sunday, 40 children will learn how to program  in Python, using Raspberry Pi — a credit card-sized single-board computer developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and developing countries.

"It should be a really fun event for the kids."

Mr Randel said another first  would be the introduction of a "Sprint", to  be held on September 12-13 at Otago Polytechnic.

"It’s a high-level programming event. It’s a chance for programmers to learn how to contribute to the development of the Python language itself."

He said it would  allow programmers to meet other experienced Python developers.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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