Python vs. Matlab

Chad Netzer cnetzer at
Thu Jan 23 01:09:14 CET 2003

On Wednesday 22 January 2003 15:41, Mongryong wrote:
> Python vs Matlab (or any other similar language).
> Any opinions on this comparison?  Benchmarks? Functionality?

Python is becoming more and more popular in the Scientific community.

> One big up for Python is that it's FREE!

So are Octave, SciLab, R, etc.

Python is nice because of it's flexibilty, and ability to make use of
existing C and fortran libraries (via f2c), and it's clean, elegant 
syntax.  But it still has a long uphill battle to compete with all the 
toolkits available for Matlab.  Depending on the libraries, it can be 
speed competitive with Matlab, and if the right toolkits are available, 
I find I get more reuse out of my python code, typically, because I can 
organize it with classes and packages.

Look at SciPy, ScientificPython, SalStat, for just some of the 
possibilities.  But one needs to know the problem domain before 
recommending Python outright.  There are many powerful tools that come 
with the free Matlab workalikes, that Python may not yet have (or even 
ever have).

Matlab is expensive because it has very useful and comprehensive 
Toolboxes, that people are willing to pay for.  But the alternatives 
are getting better and better.

Bay Area Python Interest Group -

Chad Netzer

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