[Numpy-discussion] Status of Numeric

Perry Greenfield perry at stsci.edu
Mon Jan 19 23:13:40 CET 2004

Travis Oliphant writes:
> Numarray is making great progress and is quite usable for many 
> purposes.  An idea that was championed by some is that the Numeric code 
> base would stay static and be replaced entirely by Numarray.
> However, Numeric is currently used in a large installed base.  In 
> particular SciPy uses Numeric as its core array.  While no doubt 
> numarray arrays will be supported in the future, the speed of the less 
> bulky Numeric arrays and the typical case that we encounter in SciPy of 
> many, small arrays will make it difficult for people to abandon Numeric 
> entirely with it's comparatively light-weight arrays.
I'd like to ask if the numarray option couldn't at least be
considered. In particular with regard to speed, we'd like to know
what the necessary threshold is. For many ufuncs, numarray is
within a factor of 3 or so of Numeric for small arrays. Is this
good enough or not? What would be good enough? It would probably 
be difficult to make it as fast in all cases, but how close does it
have to be? A factor of 2? 1.5? We haven't gotten very much feedback
on specific numbers in this regard.

Are there other aspects of numarray performance that are a problem?
What specifically? We don't have the resources to optimize everything
in case it might affect someone. We need to know that it is particular
problem with users to give it some priority (and know what the
necessary threshold is for acceptable performance). Perhaps the two
(Numeric and numarray) may need to coexist for a while, but we would
like to isolate the issues that make that necessary. That hasn't 
really happened yet.

Travis, do you have any specific nummarray speed issues that have
arisen from your benchmarking or use that we can look at?

Perry Greenfield 

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