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Our special theme this issue is the computer programming language Python and the increasing role it plays in scientific projects. Free and universally available, Python comes with a vast standard library containing support for nearly every area of computer science. An even more extensive set of third-party tools and modules covers additional tasks, from managing a Web site to doing a fast Fourier transform to distributed or parallel programming. The Python motto "batteries included" is meant to convey the idea that Python comes with everything you need.