[PYTHON MATRIX-SIG] NASA Research Announcement - Astrophysics Data Program

Konrad Hinsen hinsen@ibs.ibs.fr
Thu, 6 Mar 1997 20:24:36 +0100

> 1) To make Python more accessible to the scientific community,
> Numerical Python needs to be provided as an easily installable
> package, preferably having pre-built binaries for common platforms
> available.  A binary package will make it much more likely that a
> scientist will install the package to evaluate it.

For Unix, binaries are always a bit of a problem due to the many
versions and subversions, but for a few very popular flavours it could
probably be done. I suspect that a one-in-all source distribution of
Python 1.4 plus NumPy and maybe some other extensions would already be
a big step ahead, even more if it has been tested for easy
installation on most common platforms. In fact, that's what I keep
around on my disk for installation of the various machines I use from
time to time.

> 2) A basic (or standard) data analysis environment must be developed.
> Modules to be included in this package would almost certainly include
> the numeric module, the netCDF module, the GIST module, and the PIL
> module which would provide basic array, file, plotting and graphic
> capabilities, resp.  The basic numerical python package would allow

This sounds like a very good idea. Right now getting and installing
all the nice stuff can be rather intimidating to people with little
experience in system administration. (In fact, I see this as the
major problem with Python's flexible extension system.)

> 5) To make this proposal of general use, and hence more viable, we
> would work to develop C libraries that can be used by SWIG.  So in the

That makes sense, of course.

> Well, if you have read this far, the purpose of this message is to see
> who else in the Python community might be interested in collaborating
> on such a proposal and to request from the Python community any
> comments that they might have about our proposal.

The astronomy-specific parts aside, such a project could well make
Python a much more attractive choice in science. So if you want moral
support, I'll let you have plenty of it ;-)
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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