I'd appreciate it if someone can give me a little guidance here. I'm slated to be entering a Ph.D. program in the fall where I'll be working on a machine intelligence project under a DARPA grant designed to create autonomous rovers. They want me because of my background in understanding the chaotic dynamics of cortico-cortical interactions in human and non-human brains and the manner in which these processes translate into motor routines expressing goal-directed behavior. The problem is that I'm a biologist, but in order to work on the project I'm slated for and to fulfill the core requirements for the Ph.D., I'm going to have to learn how to program again! I was one of the original computer whiz kids in the early 80's but I haven't written any code in 30 years. I have no idea how things have changed. All they told me was that I was going to have to learn how to program in Matlab with a new interaction it has with Python. I don't think its a toolbox, I don't really know what it is. But what I'm looking for is someone who is in school and is working maybe in an ECE (electrical and computer engineering) department and has some experience in what tools are used there. I'll be entering the program in the fall so I've got six months to get a head start and want to jump on this now. The first thing I want to know is do I have to buy the $250 single use version of Matlab or can I get away with buying the $99 student version. Or can I get away with buying the even more stripped down $49 version that doesn't come with the suite of toolboxes that comes in the $99 version. Or is it absurd to not take advantage of that suite of toolboxes for an extra 50 bones? Am I losing any important functionality by buying the student version? I remember years ago I was going to buy the student version for a project that I was going to do but that fell apart so I didn't buy it. I think the only restriction of functionality was the size of the arrays you could create with it or something like that but that was a long time ago. I'm not trying to do anything fancy, I'm just trying to learn the computer language. I'm sure I'll be working with the full institutional version once I get to the university. As far as Python, what's going on here? Is Python free? I think I can download it for free but is this the real deal? And, importantly, what's the difference between visual Python, or vPython, and the regular Python? I've seen some great graphics displays using vPython and I'd like to learn that language, but if I just learn vPython is that the same as learning the actual Python language? Or is vPython just a stripped down version? Finally, what are some good learning resources for an old-timer like me that likes to watch educational videos on youtube instead of cracking open a book? I mean, I'm not against cracking open a book if I need to, but please give me some easy user-friendly tutorial links that I can use to learn these programming languages. Thanks. I've already found one, the guy from mathtutordvd.com. http://www.mathtutordvd.com/products/Learning-Matlab-Essentials-Skills.cfm I like this guy. VERY easy and straightforward. Just as I like it. If you can think of any others that might help, please do tell.