[Numpy-discussion] Thoughts on getting "something" in the Python core

Travis Oliphant oliphant at ee.byu.edu
Fri Apr 1 12:23:19 EST 2005

> I thought that your original Numeric3 proposal was in this direction - 
> a simple multidimensional array class/type which could
> eventually replace Python's array module.  In addition, and 
> separately, there were to be a collection of ufuncs.

No, that's a misunderstanding.   Original Numeric3 was never about 
"simplyifying."  Because, we can't "simplify" and still support the uses 
that Numeric and numarray have enjoyed.  I'm more interested in using 
something like Numeric and will always install it should it exist.   I 
was iunterested in getting it into the Python core for standardization.  
I now believe that "universal" standardization should occur around a 
"protocol" and perhaps a simple implementation. 

I'm still interested in a more "local standardization" for numarray and 
Numeric users (not all Python users) which is the focus of scipy.base 
(used to call it Numeric3).

In the process we are generating good ideas that can be used for "global 
standardization" among all Python users.   But,  I can't do it all.  I 
have to keep focused on what I'm doing with the current Numeric 
arrayobject (and that has never been about "getting rid of 

> Later, discussion seemed to drift from the basic Numeric3 towards SciPy.

The context of the problem as I see it intimately involves scipy and the 
collection of packages surrounding numarray.  The small community we 
have built up was diverging in the creation of external packages.  This 
is what troubled me most deeply.  So, there is no Numeric3 separate from 
the larger issue of "a collection of standard scientific packages" that 
scipy has tried to be.  That is why reference to scipy is made.   I see 
no "drifting occurring" 

There is a separate issue of a good array module for Python.  I now see 
the solution there as being more of a "good array protocol" for Python 
with a default very simple implementation that is improved by extension 

> Could this be subclassed so that provision could be made for Int8 (or 
> even Int1)?

I suppose, but this is kind of missing the point, because Numeric3 will 
support those types.  If you need a more advanced array you install 

> How would an array of records be handled?

By installing a more advanced array.

> The concept looks good.  Regarding timing, it seems better to build 
> the foundation before building the house.

The problem with your analogy is that the "sprawling mansion in the 
suburbs is already built" (Numeric has been around for a long time).    
The question is what kind of housing to build for the city dwellers and 
what kind of transportation system do we establish so people can move 
back and forth easily. 


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