[Cython] Julialang

Nathaniel Smith njs at pobox.com
Mon Apr 23 20:17:50 CEST 2012


On Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 6:09 PM, Dimitri Tcaciuc <dtcaciuc at gmail.com> wrote:
> I may be misuderstanding the intent here, but here it goes.
>
> If the main idea is to be able to call functions that are written in
> Julia or other languages, I think an effort to create an LLVM backend
> for Cython would go a long way towards inter-language connections as
> the one discussed here. It should be possible to take Cython- and
> Julia- produced LLVM bytecode and assemble it all together, applying
> whatever bytecode optimizers that are available (eg. SSE
> vectorization). A big advantage of that approach is that there's no
> need for one language to know syntax conventions of the other one (or
> at least not to full extent). Continuing the effort, it should be
> possible to eliminate the need for writing an intermediate .c/.cpp
> file if Clang compiler is used, which is also LLVM based.

You'd still need some way to translate between the Cython and Julia
calling conventions, runtimes, error handling, garbage collection
regimes, etc. IIUC, LLVM IR isn't like the CLR -- it doesn't force
languages into a common system for these things.

Which might be great and worth the effort, I don't know, and don't
want to discourage anyone. But there are literally hundreds of new
languages designed every year, and a new *successful* language comes
along maybe twice in a decade? And one of those recent ones was PHP,
which shows you how important pure technical quality is in determining
which ones survive (i.e., not much). Building a self-sustaining
ecosystem requires a ton of work and a ton of luck. And here I'm still
trying to *reduce* the number of languages I need in each analysis
pipeline... so even though there are a number of really exciting
things about Julia, and its author seems to know what he's doing, I'm
still in wait-and-see mode.

-- Nathaniel


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