[Python-Dev] [Fwd: Discussion: Introducing new operators for matrix computation]

Huaiyu Zhu HZhu@knowledgetrack.com
Thu, 13 Jul 2000 11:33:04 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 12 Jul 2000, Andrew Kuchling wrote:

> Why not simply write a new parser for this application that generates
> the desired semantics?  Maintaining a complete fork of the Python
> source might not be necessary if Jeremy's Python parsing/compiling
> framework could be easily modified to implement the new operators.

I wonder how orthogonal would this be against the main development?  Would
it require a rebuild for each new release.  Would it also require a patch
each time?

> (While a Python variant isn't something I'm enthused about, one
> language can't be all things to all people, and I don't see why matrix
> operations are so important as to get extra specialized operators;
> lots of people use Python for text processing or for COM, so why
> shouldn't special syntax be added for *those* applications?  Having a
> special parser also means that other matrix-specific language changes
> could be made.)

Well, linear algebra is not just another special domain.  It is almost as
elementary as arithmetic.  Vectors and matrices are fundamental concepts in
mathematics that underlies almost all of "scientific computation".  They
distill centuries of research in science and engineering, especially
computation techniques.  It is unlikely that adding linear algebra support
would open up a flood gate for similar constructs.

Look it this way.  Text processing do have their special syntaxes.  A string
is written as "string" instead of ['s','t','r','i','n','g'].  There is even
the new sep.join(list).  There are also lists and dicts for to build
structures for discrete maths.  If we had requested that new syntax for
Fourier analysis or fractal generation that would be comparable to text
processing or COM.

Python actually has the chance of being all things to most people. The other
half of the computing crowd only needs a few very basic asistance to come
across.  This crowd consists of people who design bridges and missiles,
figure out weather patterns or DNA structures, detect credit card fraud or
defects on a microchip, design speach recognition systems or network traffic
balance algorithms and machines that learn to play games.  Science and
technology have great power to penatrate many aspects of life.  And imagine
if most of that is implemented in a laguage that can also be taught in


PS. I suppose I am allowed to post to python-dev without invitation, but not
subscribing to it?  I find this rather strange.