[Numpy-discussion] A pray from an end user of numeric python.

Daehyok Shin sdhyok at gmail.com
Sat Mar 19 18:21:15 EST 2005

> Thank you, thank you for speaking up.  I am very interested in hearing
> from end users.  In fact,  I'm an "end-user" myself.  My real purpose in
> life is not to endlessly write array packages.  I want to get back to
> the many problems I'm working on that require real usage.

Travis. I am really happy to hear your encouragement. And relieved to
see you are not going to create another lib to define numeric arrays.

> In my opinion, the more use-cases of arrays we see, the better design
> desicions can be made.  Ultimately, the fact the numarray split off from
> Numeric was that some people wanted some new features to Numeric and
> wanted to try some new design ideas.   Their efforts have led to a
> better understanding of what a good array object should be.

It is true that open source community should always be open to new
ideas or designs.
However, considering the situation that there is no solid standard
numeric library for Python, I don't think it is time for renovation.
MATLAB gives us a good example. Even though it has terrible data
structures for matrices, particularly sparse matrices, its plentiful
libraries around the data structures made possible it becomes the most
popular software for numerical programming. Who wants to build his/her
house on the continuously-shaking ground? To gain a wide support from
users, a program may need some balance between renovation and
stabilization. My concern came from the feeling that our community is
losing the balance.

> Replacing the standard array type in Python is a longer-term problem.
> We need to put our own house in order in order to make that happen.
> Many of us want to see a single array type be standard in Python as long
> as we are satisfied with it.  

We may agree that if a package succeeds in gaining the support from
Guido, it will be the standard for numeric array in Python, no matter
what limitations the package has.
And, I can bet Guido will like a simple and small package – like new
package for sets. In this context, I think we have to shift our focus
from "What new fancy functions are needed?" to "Is this function
really necessary in the standard array package of Python?"

> I think everybody involved wants this too.   I'm giving up a great deal
> of my time to make it happen, largely because I see a great need and a
> way for me to contribute to help it.  I am very interested in recruiting
> others to assist me.  So far, I've received a lot of supportive
> comments, but not much supporting code.   We have the momentum.  I think
> we can get this done, so that come June, there is no "split" aside from
> backward compatibility layers....

Sorry. I was among the users who always complains but not contributes anything.
To see what I can do, I am checking out your repository.
> In my estimation the fastest way to bring the two development directions
> together is to merge the numarray features back into Numeric.  

I agree. For me, if I can write x[x>0] and create new classes easily
by inheriting existing arrays with Numeric, I will come back to
Numeric. Will Numeric3 solve the limitations?

> extended the effort some, but I have not lost sight of the goal.   I
> don't want "yet-another-implementation".  I want everybody involved to
> agree that a single package provides the basis for what people need.

Yes. No more "yet-another-implementation". 
So, will we use the same command to import Numeric3 as Numeric, right?
                   from Numeric import *

If true, I am wondering why a new name, rather than just Numeric, is
used for the package.

> Thanks again for your comments.  If you can help in any way (e.g.
> writing test scripts) then please chip in.

I appreciate your kind reply to my humble mail.
And I like to remind you that so many Python users are praying that
you succeed the project of Numeric3 with the earnest hope to have a
standard numeric array type in Python.

Daehyok Shin (Peter)
Geography Department
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

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