[SciPy-user] Question about implementation of a directed acyclic graph of formulas and variables

Christopher Mutel cmutel@gmail....
Sun Feb 22 01:23:33 CST 2009


Hello all-

I am working on a model that uses a large set of linear equations.
SciPy provides a set of tools that help very much in my case
(especially sparse matrix stuff), and I hope it is okay if I ask the
general SciPy community for advice on a further development of my
model. I am sure that some of you have already dealt with the
questions that I am struggling with.

I would like to replace some of the numbers used to construct my
matrix with a directed acyclic graph of formulas and variables, to
represent the fact that many model components are not independent of
one another. This is especially useful when doing Monte Carlo
analysis, where every element in the set of linear equations has an
associated uncertainty distribution. In the model I am working on, the
linear equations represent physical processes in the industrial
economy, and its makes the model more accurate to say that, for
example, the NOx production in a boiler is a function of the
temperature of the boiler, or the fuel consumption of a truck is a
function of the load. The alternative, which is what I do now, is
assume these parameters are independently distributed.

My questions are:

1. To store my graph of references, I need to choose an existing
python graph implementation. Does anyone have ideas on what would be
best in my specific case? I only need a graph implementation to ensure
transitive closure (no circular references), and to allow a way to
keep track of references so the entire graph can be easily and
correctly re-calculated. NetworkX seems like tremendous overkill in
this case.

2. Is there a "best" way to write a formula? Perhaps there are
libraries for something like this? I was thinking of a class like:

class Formula(object):
    formula = "foo"
    references = [bar1, bar2]

A key point here is that the formula itself must be stored in a SQL
database, and human-readable (at least to some extent). I am sure that
there is someone out there who has though a lot about these types of
issues, and has a decent solution. I don't think something like SymPy
would work here, though of course I may be wrong.

Respectfully yours,

Chris


-- 
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Chris Mutel
Ökologisches Systemdesign - Ecological Systems Design
Institut f.Umweltingenieurwissenschaften - Institute for Environmental
Engineering
ETH Zürich - HIF C 42 - Schafmattstr. 6
8093 Zürich

Telefon: +41 44 633 71 45 - Fax: +41 44 633 10 61
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