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NSF EarthCube Funded Project Pythia Educates Geoscientists on the Popular Python Programming Language

August 1, 2021

By: Jinghan Zeng, Research Experience for High School Students

San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego

Python, a popular programming language, has been used as an invaluable programming tool since 1991. Packages such as Jupyter, NumPy, MatPlotLib and Pandas enhance the uses of Python. For example, NumPy makes it easier to use matrices and write math equations in Python and do matrix operations. Although these packages are very useful, many  beginners haven’t been educated about which ones to use or what to do with them. Thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation EarthCube, the Project Pythia team aims to change that. 

“It’s hard for the typical geoscientist to know whether these complex Python packages are compatible with one other, or what will happen to them in future updates, which version is the best, if the results can be trusted, and so on,” said John Clyne, principal investigator for Project Pythia. “Our goal aims to solve these problems and educate scientists more about the Python Ecosystem.”


As computer simulations are used to help society learn more about geosciences topics such as climate, weather and atmospheric chemistry, the ability to analyze large amounts of data is a skill that many scientists will need to know. Project Pythia solves this problem by providing educational content to scientists, so they can efficiently navigate their technological tools.

In order to help scientists understand Python better, Project Pythia has been split into two objectives. The first one is to create the Pythia Portal, which is a searchable web portal that provides educational content and real world examples to geoscientists at any point in their career. The second goal is to create Cloud Deployable Pythia Platforms, which makes it easy to launch Python workflows in a cloud computing environment. The Portal will be able to run on applications like Jetstream, AWS, GCP, and more. The Pythia Portal will include reproducible Jupyter Notebooks and scripts, sample data and tutorials. The portal will provide training for common Python packages as well as geoscience-focused packages.

While Project Pythia’s Portal is still in beta mode, the team has plans to release the Platform in Summer 2022. For details, visit:

Pythia is funded by the National Science Foundation grant number 2026899.

About EarthCube

EarthCube is a community-driven activity sponsored by the National Science Foundation to transform research in the academic geosciences community. EarthCube aims to create a well-connected environment to share data and knowledge in an open, transparent, and inclusive manner, thus accelerating our ability to better understand and predict the Earth’s systems. EarthCube membership is free and open to anyone in the Geosciences, as well as those building platforms to serve the Earth Sciences. The EarthCube Office is led by the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) on the UC San Diego campus. 


Media Contact: 

Kimberly Mann Bruch, San Diego Supercomputer Center Communications,


Membership Contact:

Lynne Schreiber, San Diego Supercomputer Center EarthCube Office,


Related Links:


Project Pythia:

San Diego Supercomputer Center:

UC San Diego:

National Science Foundation:

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