[IPython-dev] [FWD] An interesting take on the Notebook Problem

Fernando Perez Fernando.Perez at colorado.edu
Mon Aug 1 16:02:35 EDT 2005

Toni Alatalo wrote:
> Fernando Perez wrote:
>>[Chris, note that ipytho-dev discards non-subscriber posts (too much 
>>spam). I've manually

[ paper about 'compendium' interactive documents, what we call 'notebooks' ]

> thanks for posting this - was quite a good read, and something that 
> makes the notebook project even more interesting

> Besides the SciPy tutorial, perhaps that seminal paper Golub and the R 
> compendium should also be among the 'test cases' for Python notebooks 
> (hopefully the dataset is not too tricky to convert to whatever the 
> format in our system would be).

As I mentioned before, don't worry about something that ambitious yet.  We'll 
first concentrate on getting the basic system up and running, before we can 
load some monster genome analysis into it, which probably depends on a zillion 
other libraries.

The paper was indeed interesting, and it shows there is actual interest in the 
scientific community for this kind of environment.  Providing facilities to 
ease up the packaging of support data for public distribution, for example, 
would be a good future enhancement, so that a notebook can be bundled easily 
with all its supporting data files for others to execute, check, experiment. 
But first things first: let's cross that bridge when we get to it.

> oh and one technical issue relating reproducibility (although that is 
> probably not among the top questions for us yet): as Gentleman notes, 
> some research methods use randomness, and to be able to reproduce the 
> exact same computations, and a heavy way is to include the random table 
> used in the compendium. quick Googling now didn't tell me if the Python 
> random generator is guaranteed to give the same results with the same 
> seed and in what conditions (i know from working on procedural modelling 
> that it at least works on the same computer..), but that can be looked 
> at later.

I think this one was settled already by Robert's clarifications.  But don't 
worry about random number generators at this point, that's not our initial goal.



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