Tutorial Step 0: Software Setup


The data in the LIGO Open Science Center (LOSC) archive is in both HDF5 and gravitational wave frame (GWF) file formats.

This tutorial will provide a walk-through only of how to install and use Python modules to work with LIGO data. For other languages, see the example software for HDF5 files and the LOSC Software Examples page.

The LOSC tutorials depend mainly on Python along with a few popular modules, including matplotlib, numpy and h5py. If your computer already has these installed, you should be ready for the LOSC tutorials. If not, here are some suggestions.

Option 1: Run tutorials in your browser

  • No installation needed
  • Use Microsoft Azure or mybinder.org to run tutorials in your browser

Option 2: Use a Docker container

  • Basic Installation
A Docker container includes a complete software enviornment, and should run on any popular operating system.

Option 3: Install Pre-compiled Python Enviornment

  • Basic Installation
Pre-compiled python software will allow you to read HDF5 files containing LIGO/Virgo data and perform analysis using popular packages such as numpy and matplotlib. Note that specialized LIGO/Virgo software may not work with this option.

Pre-compiled enviornments are available through:

Option 4: Install Packages Individually

  • Experts only
All of the software for this tutorial is freely available. You may wish to use a package manager, such as pip or macports. We recommend Python version 2.7. Download and install the following packages:
  1. HDF5 (Windows users can skip this step)
  2. Python
  3. NumPy
  4. matplotlib
  5. SciPy
  6. h5py
  7. IPython and Jupyter (optional)

Verify Software Installation

Once you have installed the software, open the python interpreter, and type the following lines. If everything works, this should plot a parabola.
import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import h5py

What's next?

Once you have all the needed software installed, it is time to learn how it works. If you are already have some experience with Python, you can go to the next step of this tutorial. However, if you are new to Python, you may want to look at some tutorials on numpy and matplotlib. After you are comfortable with Python's basic features, you can go to the next step of this tutorial.