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Why is Python so "hot" as a language to know, and why is it so important in Artificial Intelligence applications?

Last Modified: 2020-09-10
It seems as if knowledge/skill in Python programming is at the top of the list if you are developing AI applications. Is my observation incorrect or incomplete?

If Python is so important, what makes it so different from other programming languages?

Thanks in advance for you help.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Expert of the Year 2017

The majority of Open Source Big Data packages and Machine Learning packages are developed using Python, e.g. Tensorflow, PyTorch.

Simple to use, simple to program, used now in UK schools as one of the chosen languages for Students to use and develop progressing on from Scratch (GUI), included with Linux (Raspberry PIs).

Recent developments using Notebooks, make it easier for non-programmers to get to grips with basic functions.
ste5anSenior Developer

Yes and no.

The actual skill of being able to program in a language is not really the necessary skill.

The power of mostly all common languages lies within the libraries available and the functionality covered by them and quality of those libraries.

Python is important in AI, cause it has a lot of libraries around AI.


Thank you for your response. Could you please describe what "libraries" are....are they other functions or programs that Python is able to call in when necessary?
nociSoftware Engineer
Distinguished Expert 2019

Like Pascal in the 1970's   the language was developed to be able to be used by anyone learning computer languages.  
Unlike Pascal the language was actually usable beyond learning.
Due to this a lot of libraries were developed for this.  Due to availability of libraries it become more useful, more used, more libraries, .... etc.

In the same period a lot of people got acquainted to the language so it became their language of choice of small and eventually larger projects.
It also helped one didn't need expensive compilers, also the sources to the interpreter & runtime were available for free as well.
And most importantly they were well maintained.

Libraries are a collection of code to do a specific task. in one bundle.
And a programming language will need to be able to handle such libraries.
ste5anSenior Developer

A programming language consists out of keywords and syntax. Learning a language means learning to use those keywords and using the correct syntax (grammar).

For example C is pretty easy to learn as it has only 21 keywords.

The complexity starts when you want to work with it.
Each "simple" task like answering question e.g. "How long is this text?" requires methods to do this. These methods are in almost every language part of a library and not part of the language itself.

So, a library is a collection of methods.

In addition to my first answer:

The key is not to learn the language itself. The key is to learn to use the important libraries. This means especially to know, when to use what library and what methods to solve problems.
nociSoftware Engineer
Distinguished Expert 2019

Python (or any other languag for that matter) doesn't call in libraries. The programmer tells the Python interpreter how to solve a problem and what libraries to use.

>50% of a programmers task is to be a good librarian or at least know how to search the index of other library collections if there is a useable partial solution to an issue identified. Most of the other part is to disect a problem into solvable portions.   Translation in a specific language (being it English, Swahili, Chinese, C, Python, assembly ) is only a tiny part of it.
The disecting part is can greatly benefit from knowing what libraries there are and how they solve what problem.
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