[SciPy-user] Why is SciPy better than Matlab or IDL? ;)

Bruce Southey bsouthey@gmail....
Tue Jul 7 11:39:48 CDT 2009


On 07/07/2009 11:14 AM, David Warde-Farley wrote:
> On 7-Jul-09, at 10:03 AM, Vincent van Beveren wrote:
>
>    
>> -          In what aspects does SciPy excel, compared to say IDL or
>> matlab?
>>      
>
> Vectorized operations are (almost) as fast. Depending on what BLAS you
> use, linear algebra can be just as fast. String processing in Python
> is so incredibly better than Matlab that the thought of doing string
> operations in Matlab almost makes me cry. Python has bindings to
> nearly everything -- a dozen different GUI toolkits to low-level
> hardware interfaces.  Likewise there are a handful of different ways
> to interface your code to code written in other languages -- ctypes,
> swig, boost::python, cython for C/C++, PyObjC for Objective C, f2py
> for Fortran, scikits.mlabwrap for Matlab, rpy and rpy2 for R...
>    

I would add because it is not always obvious and overlooked is that 
Python really integrates very different things into a single unified yet 
simple interface. As an example, you can very easily 'bolt on' web stuff 
to an existing peice of Python code to create an almost instant web 
application. (I have mixed linear algebra with html processing including 
parsing cgi and creating html tags and images to provide a couple of web 
apps.) So suddenly instead of saying I can do solve this problem (and 
perhaps here is the code), you can just say 'go to this web site and do 
it'. Plus, I can easily fix bugs and add new code without the user doing 
anything. This is great publicly to grant agencies and such like because 
you can actually show what you have done and also provide some outreach 
to the community.

As a shameless plug, Frontiers in Neuroinformatics had a special issue 
on Python:
http://www.frontiersin.org/neuroinformatics/
http://www.frontiersin.org/neuroinformatics/specialtopics/8/

Bruce

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