[MATRIX-SIG] FYI: My future status (and Numeric Python's)

Jim Hugunin hugunin@mit.edu
Fri, 20 Jun 1997 15:45:52 -0400

As of last week I have officially taken a leave of absence from MIT in order to
pursue my ideas relating to Python and Java full-time.  This means that I'm likely
to have even less time in the future to spend working on NumPy than I have recently.

The good news is that I consider the basic project essentially finished.  As soon as
possible I'll have the last crop of bug reports fixed and I'll be putting out
NumPy1.0 final.  After that point I'll probably be putting only minimal effort into
this project.  Obviously I'll keep handling bug reports and putting out updated
versions, but I doubt that I'll be pushing forward to add any new features for quite
some time (I think the current feature set is reasonably complete).

The web pages for this project are moving to Starship Python over this weekend. 
I'll send out more information when the move is complete to let people know where to
find things.

Just thought you should know - Jim Hugunin - hugunin@javanet.com

PS - I can probably be persuaded to do paid consulting work on Numeric Python if
there is something you really need.  Contact me to discuss terms and rates.

-----------Extra stuff for the truly interested----------------

Much of my motivation to look into Python/Java came from my experiences with
creating and distributing Numeric Python.  I feel that the three key flaws in NumPy

1) Hard to install
	-solved by portable Java bytecodes
2) No portable graph packages (arguable I know)
	-all graphics are portable with Java
3) Hard to build python interfaces to existing libraries
	-trivial to use Java libraries with Python
	-I expect to see Java bindings for almost every major library
		in the not too distant future (this one's just a guess).
	-Java's features (garbage collection, exceptions, classes)
		make writing python extensions FAR easier

I fully intend to move my Numeric Extensions to Java once the rest of the system I'm
building falls into place.  I don't think the performance will suffer much at all
(I've even come up with some fun ideas involving run-time generated bytecodes that
could offer some serious performance boosts).  I also think that the three most
significant flaws that I mentioned above will go away with such a system.

I also realize that many people out there (probably on this list more than anywhere
else in the Python community) are using Python primarily as a glue between existing
custom C and FORTRAN libraries.  In this case, the greater difficulty of writing a
Java interface for your native code vs. a Python interface is probably a big deal. 
I also realize that many people on this list run in environments where Java is not
available (most supercomputers).  So I'm not claiming that Python/Java is a
universal solution to anything.

Just thought somebody out there might want to know - Jim

MATRIX-SIG  - SIG on Matrix Math for Python

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