[Matrix-SIG] Interactive Data Analysis

Travis Oliphant Oliphant.Travis@mayo.edu
Tue, 9 Feb 1999 17:05:31 -0600 (EST)

To clarify some of my previous ramblings.

It is true that there are far too many integrated data analysis packages
all linking basically the same code (especially the free ones) for the
core engines.  Just look at this page...


All of these packages are useful to some people but I was not satisfied
with either the underlying data object or the lack of extensibility on any
of them.

It would be great to have a generic package that includes all of the
"important" free numerical routines that could be easily plugged-in to any
suitable extensible scripting language.   That could definitely be a long
term vision.

But, I agree with David and Johann that this is a hard problem, especially
without a model to work from. I also tend to agree that a good way to work
towards a generic package is to implement (translate: collect, package,
and document the interface) a python-specific collection of good routines
while keeping an eye towards reuse in other environments.  I think this
means either using SWIG as much as possible (without sacrificing real
usability with the NumPy defined objects), or making sure that any code
written is cleanly separated into Python-specific and generic subroutines.

Concentrating on getting lots of useful routines cleanly working with
NumPy early will attract more users of Numpy which will improve the
quality of any generic design that we might come up with later.   Right
now there are not enough "toolkit" routines to persuade many to use NumPy.
That is unfortunate since it is really quite a simple thing to add these
facilities to the python-numpy environment --- It just takes a little