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

Konrad Hinsen hinsen@ibs.ibs.fr
Mon, 23 Jun 1997 11:39:09 +0200

> 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

Sounds good. I agree that the project is essentially finished, as far as
any project can ever be called finished. Thanks for all the work you did!

> 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
> are:
> 1) Hard to install
> 	-solved by portable Java bytecodes

Well, yes, but... I am sure the installation of Python extensions can be
improved without reimplementing Python!

> 2) No portable graph packages (arguable I know)
> 	-all graphics are portable with Java

Within the limits of Java portability!

> 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

This is partly true, but I don't share your optimism about the second
point. Besides, Java-C integration is far from standard, and I haven't
even heard about attempts at Java-Fortran integration.

> 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

That will depend a lot on the quality of Java compilers. But I agree
that performance may be good enough for many NumPy applications, e.g.
for data analysis. On the other hand, one of my major uses of NumPy is
interfacing to C modules that burn lots of CPU times, up to weeks per
program run. I am not at all convinced that Java performance will be
acceptable for such stuff in the near future.

Anyway, all that is *your* problem ;-)  We just sit back and watch!

Konrad Hinsen                          | E-Mail: hinsen@ibs.ibs.fr
Laboratoire de Dynamique Moleculaire   | Tel.: +33-
Institut de Biologie Structurale       | Fax:  +33-
41, av. des Martyrs                    | Deutsch/Esperanto/English/
38027 Grenoble Cedex 1, France         | Nederlands/Francais

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