Matplotlib with Ben Root



“My eyes just roll whenever I see a table just full of numbers – they don’t mean anything to me, I don’t immediately grok it. But if I see a line plot, I get it, right away.”

Matplotlib is a python plotting library inspired by MATLAB. It allows developers to easily visualize their data using simple functions. In this episode, Jeff and Ben discuss why visualizing data is integral for the human experience, and how they it can make drawing conclusions from data more meaningful. Ben relates this to his experience studying atmospheric data in the wild, and how his work as a researcher drives his need to visualize the vast amounts of raw data generated by weather systems.

Ben Root is a core contributor to Matplotlib and works as a scientific programmer for Atmospheric and Environmental Research Inc.


  • Why are visual tools like Matplotlib crucial for communicating information effectively?
  • Is the closed-source nature of MATLAB detrimental to its growth?
  • How are you involved in the core Matplotlib development team?
  • When did you begin to work on software focusing on meteorology?
  • Has the accuracy of weather predictions increased over the years?
  • What’s next for Matplotlib?


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