[Matplotlib-devel] [matplotlib-devel] Make matplotlib running on GPU/CUDA

Benjamin Root ben.v.root at gmail.com
Wed Sep 13 10:21:05 EDT 2017

A bit of background regarding efforts in this area...

A long time ago, some experiments were done to see if an opengl backend
could be made for matplotlib. The results weren't that great, particularly
for text rendering, so the effort was dropped. The core developers all
agree that an opengl backend would be neat to have, but we all have
limited, if any, experience developing opengl. Furthermore, such a backend
would likely require a lot of rapid development and trial-n-error. So, we
encouraged others to go develop a package or two separately, with the eye
for bringing it back into matplotlib when it was ready. Glumpy and a few
other projects were born from that prodding.

VisPy was an attempt to consolidate the development efforts for those
projects. The matplotlib devs had very fruitful discussions with some VisPy
devs back at SciPy 2015, but the project became non-responsive shortly

Ben Root

On Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 3:31 AM, Francesco Faccenda <f.faccenda86 at gmail.com>

> Thank you Chris for your reply.
> I have to admit I already stumbled on VisPy while doing my research on the
> web. Still, I've got a lot of code already working with *matplotlib*.
> Indeed, not only I plot data with it, but i manage a lot of *mpl events*
> to provide the users usefool tools, like lines picking, tooltips, lines
> copy/paste, square selectors for multiple selections, context menu and so
> on. Moreover, I got matplotlib *embedded *on *wxpython *as well. While at
> the beginning few lines were managed and noone complained, now that big
> amout of data has to be displayed, the non-GPU core of the library is
> starting to show its limits.
> Since matplotlib is a reference library for this kind of  applications, I
> thought it deserved an update in this direction. If anyone is willing to do
> so, I'm available to discuss possible solutions and also provide any help I
> can give.
> Best regards,
> Francesco Faccenda
> 2017-09-13 0:46 GMT+02:00 Chris Barker <chris.barker at noaa.gov>:
>> On Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 8:47 AM, Francesco Faccenda <
>> f.faccenda86 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> But there’s a good news, I have a nice GPU available (an NVIDIA Tesla
>>> K40c), so I’d like to know if there is a way to make matplotlib run on it,
>>> or maybe wrap it on some GPU/CUDA wrapper and make it run smoothly.
>> I tihnk you want VisPy:
>> https://vispy.readthedocs.io/en/latest/
>> It's a plotting package with a kinda like  matplotlib API, built on
>> OpenGL.
>> Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's been updated in a while -- from
>> teh docs. But the gitHub project is active:
>> https://github.com/vispy/vispy
>> So maybe it's only the docs that haven't been updated!
>> But probably  a much better option than trying to shoehorn GPU rendering
>> into MPL.
>> The problem is that while MPL was designed to be "backend" independent --
>> so it is "easy" to plug in an alternative renderer, the rendering model is
>> not really well suited to GPU rendering -- it would take a lot of
>> refactoring to really be able to take advantage of the graphics card.
>> -CHB
>> --
>> Christopher Barker, Ph.D.
>> Oceanographer
>> Emergency Response Division
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>> Chris.Barker at noaa.gov
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