We will be using Python for the labs and assignments in this course. I will do my best to make any support code work in both Python 2.7 and 3.4, although the 2.7 version is likely to be more heavily tested.
The support code uses various packages such as NumPy, Matplotlib, and NLTK. If you are happy to install these individually yourself, please go ahead. However, for most students we would encourage you to simplify your life by downloading and installing Anaconda, a free Python distribution that already includes everything we will need for the course.
In particular, Anaconda:
The main downside to Anaconda is its size: the download is about 300MB, and once installed it takes up about 1.5GB. It will take several minutes to download and install, so we strongly encourage you to do this ahead of time, don't wait until the first class or first lab, when everyone else will be trying to download at the same time.Download Anaconda now.
(It is possible to download only a skeleton version of Anaconda, called Miniconda, and use it to install only the packages you want, although I have not experimented with this myself.)