Quantitative Analysis, Risk Management, Modelling, Algo Trading, and Big Data Analysis

Setting up Python for Quantitative Analysis in OS X 10.9 Mavericks



Someone, not so long time ago, turned my attention from Matlab coding towards Python programming. He used a strong argument on the enormous flexibility of the language and equally dynamic capabilities as contrasted with Matlab. Well, not mentioning a zero-dollar cost and the power behind the art of computing. That got my attention. When I did my own in-depth research on Python’s applications to the quantitative finance and risk modeling, I came back to my friend saying: Pal, you got my attention but now you have my curiosity. It’s difficult to divide a heart between two women and love them both the same way. Matlab and Python. However, since Python enters the saloons of financial coding with a full splendour, it deserves more respect than initially one would consider.

With this article, my wish is to commence a new thread at Quant At Risk pertaining a tutorial for all quants and financial risk managers wishing to pick up the language’s fundamentals, tastes, and all ingredients backed by a number of useful examples on the way. As this is a new path of wisdom for me too, I hope we will enjoy this journey together.

Assuming that Apple, Inc. and its powerful computers will continue to keep the pace of becoming increasingly popular among financial applications, let me put an extra ground standing behind the motivation of this post. We will set up a complete quant programming Python environment in Apple’s OS X 10.9 Mavericks operating system.

Steps to Success

Let me provide you with a complete list of steps you need to take to download, install, and setup Python on Mac. I will limit all descriptions to a required minimum. The whole process should take no longer than thirty minutes depending on your Internet connection.

1.Download .dmg file with Python 2.7.5 for Mac OS X 64-bit/32-bit from here.
Execute and install on you hard drive.
2. XCode
If you don’t have it, just visit Mac App Store for a free download. It may require you to register first as a developer but that comes will all privileges for your programming career in the future. Once installed, open XCode, go to Preferences… and click on the Downloads tab. We will need to have downloaded and installed Command Line Tools, therefore if you don’t have it, follow that path.
Open Terminal for next steps.
3. sudo easy_install virtualenv
This command installs and allows us to set up a temporary environment assisting within the further installation process.


4. mkdir -p ~/Python/env; virtualenv ~/Python/env
5. pip install mpmath
6. pip install numpy
7. pip install scipy
8. /usr/bin/ruby -e “$(curl -fsSkL raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go)”
9. brew install pkg-config
10. brew install freetype
11. brew install libpng
12. brew install ffmpeg
13. pip install matplotlib
14. brew install zeromq
15. pip install pyzmq
16. pip install Tornado
17. pip install readline
18. pip install azure
19. pip install curses
20. pip install cython
21. pip install jinja2
22. pip install pexpect
23. pip install pygments
24. pip install pymongo
25. pip install sphinx
26. pip install sqlite3
27. pip install wx
28. pip install zmq
29. pip install sympy
30. pip install patsy
31. pip install scikit_learn
32. pip install statsmodels
33. pip install pandas
34. pip install ipython
All these packages we will be using extensively, separately or in a combined version. They all supplement each other and make us equipped with a powerful weapon of sophisticated coding in Python.
35.export PY_ENV_DIR=~/Python/env
Add this line into ~/.bash_profile file.
By typing a command which python we shoud get: ~/Python/env/bin/python. If so, it looks like that we went through the storm smoothly and we are ready to give go-and-go for launch!
In Terminal, type and execute the following command. It should give us an access to Python coding:
In the next post, we will setup a nice and cosy Integrated Development Environment (IDE) which should be sufficient for our early stages of scripting in Python.
  • miguel

    Hi Pawel,

    First of all, let me thank you for this great website you’re doing a really good job in my humble opinion.

    Do you have any idea why I can’t run the 8th step?

    myuser-McBook-Pro: user$ /usr/bin/ruby -e “$(curl -fsSkL raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go)”
    curl: (22) The requested URL returned error: 400 Bad Request

  • http://fractalsoft.biz Pablo Torre

    with minor modifications (apt-get instead of brew), the steps above can be used on any Linux distribution.

    • Pawel

      True. Thanks for this remark Pablo. There are not so many differences if you wish to install Python in Linux.

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