[SciPy-dev] Introductions, sparse matrix support
schofield at ftw.at
Wed Oct 12 08:08:57 CDT 2005
First of all, let me congratulate Travis, Robert, Pearu, and the other
core developers for their great work on SciPy and SciPy Core. I'd like
to introduce myself and express my interest to get involved.
I'm the author of a toolkit for maximum entropy modelling (with the
misleading Sourceforge project name 'textmodeller') that uses SciPy and
PySparse. I've been reading the scipy-dev list for about a year with
interest. Now I'd like to get involved in SciPy development, starting
with improving the sparse matrix module and, when that's in shape,
contributing my maxent module to SciPy (if you want it!)
I've made small contributions to PySparse in the past and briefly
discussed the idea of merging PySparse into SciPy with Roman Geus by
email. His comment in April was:
"So far I have not had contacts to the scipy people, and admittedly I
have never even installed scipy. When creating pysparse (some years ago
now) I liked the idea of smaller well-definied packages more, than a big
collection dependent packages. "
I broadly agree with this philosophy, and it has served PySparse
development well until now, but in this case I think that there's value
to the community in having a well-integrated core of matrix
functionality (sparse and dense) and one set of prerequisites and
interfaces rather than several.
Jonathan mentioned that he'd collect some stats on how pysparse and
scipy.sparse stack up. If we're cherry-picking among different sparse
matrix implementations, here's a qualitative assessment: PySparse has
several advantages, including a mature and apparently well-written code
base, a simple interface, some good documentation, even a good set of
unit tests. These were the reasons I adopted it for my maximum entropy
module 1-2 years ago. It has some momentum too as a project, with a
small but steady number of patches flowing in since Roman stopped active
development a couple of years ago.
I'd be happy to work with Jonathan, Dan, and Robert on sparse matrix
support in SciPy, integrating PySparse code with Travis and Robert's
UMFPACK wrapper. Perhaps we could even find support among other
PySparse developers. PySparse currently depends on Numeric, and will
need porting to SciPy Core eventually...
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