Start scientific computing on a new OS X

You got your new MacBook/Mac, and (of course) you are excited. Now you want to use it for scientific computing, let me get you started.

First of all, the programming environment on an OS X system is based on an App that is distributed in the App Store. Yes, in the App Store. You need to download the newest version to enable the newest features. Its name is XCode.

Download it from App Store. You need to sign in with your Apple ID.

Now you are ready to install the next important tool called macports. Macports integrated almost all the essential and fancy packages for you to do scientific computing. Here is its official website:

Download macports and install. After it’s installed, open a Terminal window (which is found in Launchpad-Other), type the following command

xcode-select --install

This installs all the command line tools macports needs. Then, accept the XCode license by

xcodebuild -license

Now you are ready to install ports from macports. You may go through the available list for all the ports you can install. From my own perspective, I found the following ones particularly useful:

  • python27, py27-numpy, py27-matplotlib, py27-ipython, py27-notebook
  • inkscape
  • cmake
  • openmpi