You will need to download and install the free Python software from http://python.org/download/. You will need Python 3.1.2. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. I will cover how to install Python during the first week of class.
While a book is not required, it may be helpful to have one just to have another view of the language from what is covered in class. Here are some recommendations.
How to think like a computer scientist
by Jeffrey Elkner, Allen B. Downey, and Chris Meyers
This book is available online for free at http://www.openbookproject.net/thinkcs/python/english2e/. It is a reasaonable introduction to Python programming.
Python Programming: An Introduction to Computer Science
by John Zelle
This book is a solid Python textbook. It is used in many of the sections for this class here at UMW. It is a tad over $35 at Amazon.
Head First Programming: A Learner’s Guide to Programming Using the Python Language
by David Griffiths and Paul Barry
This book offers a fun, hands-on approach to learning Python. It is a bit like a guided workbook designed to engage you mind as you read. It is $31 at Amazon.
Python for Linguists
This is a draft of four chapters I wrote designed to help linguists learn to program. If you are a non-technical liberal arts type, this might be the place to start.