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In nearly all scientific computing and data analysis applications there is a need for data input and output, for example, to load datasets or to persistently store results. Getting data in and out of programs is consequently a key step in the computational workflow. There are many standardized formats for storing structured and unstructured data. The benefits of using standardized formats are obvious: you can use existing libraries for reading and writing data, saving yourself both time and effort. In the course of working with scientific and technical computing, it is likely that you will face a variety of data formats through interaction with colleagues and peers, or when acquiring data from sources such as equipment and databases. As a computational practitioner, it is important to be able to handle data efficiently and seamlessly, regardless of which format it comes in. This motivates why this entire chapter is devoted to this topic.
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- Chapter 18