[Numpy-discussion] big picture? One proposal

Konrad Hinsen hinsen at cnrs-orleans.fr
Fri Mar 8 00:06:04 CST 2002

"Perry Greenfield" <perry at stsci.edu> writes:

> That still leaves the question of how to do the conversions, i.e., one
> of the following options
> I strongly prefer the first (functional) form.

Me too. I wouldn't call it "functional" though, it's exactly the way
object constructors are written.

> Rick White has also convinced me that this alone isn't sufficient.
> There are numerous occasions where people would like to use matrix
> multiply, even in a predominately "array" context, enough so that this
> would justify a special operator for matrix multiplication. If the 

Could you summarize those reasons please? I know that there are
applications of matrix multiplication in array processing, but in my
experience they are rare enough that writing dot(a, b) is not a major

Maybe we need to take another step back as well: Python is a
general-purpose language, with several specialized subcommunities such
as ours, some of them even more important in size. Most likely they
are having similar discussions. Perhaps the database guys are
discussing why they need two more special operators for searching and
concatenating databases.

I don't think such requests are reasonable. It is tempting to think
that it doesn't matter, if you don't need that operator, you just
don't use it. But a big advantage of Python is readability. If we get
our (well, *yours*, I don't want it ;-) matrix multiply operator, a
month later someone will decide that it's just great for his database
application, and the database community will have to get used to it as

> Numeric community is united on this, I think Guido would be receptive.
> We might suggest a particular operator symbol or pair (triple) but 

Actually I feel quite safe: there might be a majority for another
operator, but I don't expect we'd ever agree on a symbol :-)

Konrad Hinsen                            | E-Mail: hinsen at cnrs-orleans.fr
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