[Numpy-discussion] Upcoming revision of the BLAS standard

Nathaniel Smith njs at pobox.com
Tue Nov 14 22:37:59 EST 2017

Hi NumPy and SciPy developers,

Apparently there is some work afoot to update the BLAS standard, with
a working document here:


This seems like something where we might want to get involved in, so
that the new standard works for us, and James Demmel (the first author
on that proposal and a professor here at Berkeley) suggested they'd be
interested to hear our thoughts.

I'm not sure exactly what the process is here -- apparently there have
been some workshops, and there was going to be a BoF today at
Supercomputing, but I don't know what the schedule is or how they'll
be making decisions. It's possible for anyone interested to click on
that google doc above and make "suggestions", but it seems like maybe
it would be useful for the NumPy/SciPy teams to come up with some sort
of shared document on what we want?

I'm really, really not the biggest linear algebra expert on these
lists, so I'm hoping those with more experience will jump in, but to
get started here are some initial ideas for things we might want to
ask for:

- Support for arbitrary strided memory layout
- Replacing xerbla with proper error codes (already in that proposal)
- There's some discussion about NaN handling where I think we might
have opinions. (Am I remember right that currently we have to check
for NaNs ourselves all the time because there are libraries that blow
up if we don't, and we don't know which ones those are?)
- Where the spec ends up giving implementors flexibility, some way to
detect at compile time what options they chose.


Nathaniel J. Smith -- https://vorpus.org

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