[Numpy-discussion] design issues - octave 'incompatibilities'

Travis Oliphant oliphant at ee.byu.edu
Wed Jul 27 01:03:09 EDT 2005

Soeren Sonnenburg wrote:

>I am realizing that this must have been why cvxopt switched away from
>numarray/numeric. There slicing/indexing and '*' work as I would have
cvxopt uses it's own classes because they did not feel that a general 
purpose array was needed.  They wanted to define a matrix class with 
sparse matrix and dense matrix sub-classes.   In fact, cvxopt's matrix 
classes can not be used as ubiquitously as Numeric/numarray arrays.   
Everything is not a matrix.  In fact, I would like to see more general 
linear algebra routines that allow people to more naturally deal with 
(for example) six-dimensional linear operators mapping from a 
three-dimensional space to a three-dimensional space.  Currently, you 
are forced to perform an artificial row-scanning procedure just to 
interface with matrix libraries.  Scipy can help with this kind of thing.

I do not see cvxopt as a competing array implementation.   At some 
point, hopefully cvxopt will be integrated with scipy.  I am continually 
looking for feasible ways to make scipy more attractive to 
contributors.  Everybody benefits when their is a standard 
infrastructure.   For example, there are sparse matrices in SciPy.  If 
cvxopt has better sparse matrix objects, I would love to use them.  
Hopefully, the array interface will assist on a more abstract scale so 
that memory re-use can occur for at least the dense cvxopt matrices.

>It now seems very difficult for me to end up with a single
>numeric/matrix package that makes it into core python - which is at the
>same time very sad.

Their are several issues here.  But, yes a Matrix object will always be 
a separate object just as quaternions should be because they represent 
an interpretation to a memory block.  In Numeric/numarray the focus is 
on generic multidimensional arrays.  Therefore numeric operators must be 
element-by element. 

Note that Numeric does have a Matrix object that allows you to use '*' 
to represent matrix multiplication.   It's only problem is that passing 
this object to a function usually returns an array again instead of a 


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