[Numpy-discussion] Low-level API for Random

Ralf Gommers ralf.gommers at gmail.com
Thu Sep 19 23:02:46 EDT 2019

On Thu, Sep 19, 2019 at 4:53 PM Robert Kern <robert.kern at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Sep 19, 2019 at 5:24 AM Ralf Gommers <ralf.gommers at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> On Thu, Sep 19, 2019 at 10:28 AM Kevin Sheppard <
>> kevin.k.sheppard at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> There are some users of the NumPy C code in randomkit.  This was never
>>> officially supported.  There has been a long open issue to provide this
>>> officially.
>>> When I wrote randomgen I supplied .pdx files that make it simpler to
>>> write Cython code that uses the components.  The lower-level API has not
>>> had much scrutiny and is in need of a clean-up.   I thought this would also
>>> encourage users to extend the random machinery themselves as part of their
>>> project or code so as to minimize the requests for new (exotic)
>>> distributions to be included in Generator.
>>> Most of the generator functions follow a pattern random_DISTRIBUTION.
>>> Some have a bit more name mangling which can easily be cleaned up (like
>>> ranomd_gauss_zig, which should become PREFIX_standard_normal).
>>> Ralf Gommers suggested unprefixed names.
>> I suggested that the names should match the Python API, which I think
>> isn't quite the same. The Python API doesn't contain things like "gamma",
>> "t" or "f".
> As the implementations evolve, they aren't going to match one-to-one 100%.
> The implementations are shared by the legacy RandomState. When we update an
> algorithm, we'll need to make a new function with the better algorithm for
> Generator to use, then we'll have two C functions roughly corresponding to
> the same method name (albeit on different classes). C doesn't give us as
> many namespace options as Python. We could rely on conventional prefixes to
> distinguish between the two classes of function (e.g. legacy_normal vs
> random_normal).

That seems simple and clear

There are times when it would be nice to be more descriptive about the
> algorithm difference (e.g. random_normal_polar vs random_normal_ziggurat),

We decided against versioning algorithms in NEP 19, so an update to an
algorithm would mean we'd want to get rid of the older version (unless it's
still in use by legacy). So AFAICT we'd never have both random_normal_polar
and random_normal_ziggurat present at the same time?

I may be missing your point here, but if we have in Python
`Generator.normal` and can switch its implementation from polar to ziggurat
or vice versa without any deprecation, then why would we want to switch
names in the C API?

most of our algorithm updates will be minor tweaks rather than changing to
> a new named algorithm.
>> I tried this in a local branch and it was a bit ugly since some of the
>>> distributions have common math names (e.g., gamma) and others are very
>>> short (e.g., t or f).  I think a prefix is needed, and after looking
>>> through the C API docs npy_random_ seemed like a reasonable choice (since
>>> these live in numpy.random).
>>> Any thoughts on the following questions are welcome (others too):
>>> 1. Should there be a prefix on the C functions?
>>> 2. If so, what should the prefix be?
>> Before worrying about naming details, can we start with "what should be
>> in the C/Cython API"? If I look through the current pxd files, there's a
>> lot there that looks like it should be private, and what we expose as
>> Python API is not all present as far as I can tell (which may be fine, if
>> the only goal is to let people write new generators rather than use the
>> existing ones from Cython without the Python overhead)
> Using the existing distributions from Cython was a requested feature and
> an explicit goal, yes. There are users waiting for this.

Thanks, clear (also from other responses on this thread).

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mail.python.org/pipermail/numpy-discussion/attachments/20190920/1f2ce125/attachment.html>

More information about the NumPy-Discussion mailing list