This small subclass of the Pandas sqlalchemy-based SQL support for reading/storing tables uses the Postgres-specific "COPY FROM" method to insert large amounts of data to the database. It is much faster that using INSERT. To acheive this, the table is created in the normal way using sqlalchemy but no data is inserted. Instead the data is saved to a temporary CSV file (using Pandas' mature CSV support) then read back to Postgres using Psychopg2 support for COPY FROM STDIN.
Easy parallel python with concurrent.futures
As of version 3.3, python includes the very promising
concurrent.futures module, with elegant context managers for running tasks concurrently. Thanks to the simple and consistent interface you can use both threads and processes with minimal effort.
For most CPU bound tasks - anything that is heavy number crunching - you want your program to use all the CPUs in your PC. The simplest way to get a CPU bound task to run in parallel is to use the ProcessPoolExecutor, which will create enough sub-processes to keep all your CPUs busy.
We use the context manager thusly:
with concurrent.futures.ProcessPoolExecutor() as executor:
A "virtualenv activate" for Anaconda environments
I've been using the Anaconda python package from continuum.io recently and found it to be a good way to get all the complex compiled libs you need for a scientific python environment. Even better, their conda tool lets you create environments much like virtualenv, but without having to re-compile stuff like numpy, which gets old very very quickly with virtualenv and can be a nightmare to get correctly set up on OSX.
The only thing missing was an easy way to switch environments - their docs suggest running python executables from the install folder, which I find a bit of a pain. Coincidentally I came across this article - Virtualenv's bin/activate is Doing It Wrong - which desribes a simple way to launch a sub-shell with certain environment variables set. Now simple was the key word for me since my bash-fu isn't very strong, but I managed to come up with the script below. Put this in a text file called conda-work