[Numpy-discussion] Status of Numeric

Marcel Oliver m.oliver at iu-bremen.de
Tue Jan 20 14:52:02 CST 2004

Perry Greenfield writes:
 > Peter J. Verveer writes:
 > > I was under the impression that Numarray was intended to be a
 > > replacement for Numeric, also as a building block for larger
 > > packages such as SciPy. Was Numarray not intended to be an
 > > "improved Numeric" in the first place? I chose to develop for
 > > Numarray rather than Numeric because of its improvements, under
 > > the assumption that eventually my code would also become
 > > available to the users of such packages as SciPy. (I wrote the
 > > nd_image extension that is now distributed with Numarray. I also
 > > contributed some improvements to RandomArray extension that are
 > > not in the Numeric version.)
 > >
 > It has been our intention to port scipy to use numarray soon.  This
 > work has been delayed somewhat since our current focus is on
 > plotting. We do still intend to see that scipy works with numarray.

That this discussion is happening NOW really surprises me.  I have
been following this list for a couple of years now, with the intention
of eventually using numerical Python as the main teaching toolbox for
numerical analysis, and possibly for the migration small research
codes as well.

The possibility of doing numerics in Phython has always intrigued me.
Right now I am primarily using Matlab.  It's very powerful, but not
free and the language is horrible; Octave is trying to play catch up
but has mostly lost steam.  So a good scientific Phython environment
(of any sort) would be a really cool thing to have.

However, two things have always held me back (apart from coding small
examples on a few occasions):

1. Numerical Phython has been in a limbo for too long (I had even
   assumed a few times that both Numeric and Numarray were dead for
   all practical purposes).  If there are two incompatible version for
   years and no clear indication where the whole thing is going, I am
   very hesitant to invest any time into writing substantial code, or
   recommend it for class room use.

2. Plotting is a major issue.  There are a couple of semi-functional
   packages, but neither a comprehensive solution nor a clear
   direction for the plotting architecture.

Short, I see a lot of potential, unused mainly because the numerical
Python community seems to lack clear direction and leadership.  This
is a real showstopper for someone who is primarily interested in
building on top.

I am still hopeful that something will come of all this - any progress
will be very much appreciated.

Best regards,

Marcel Oliver                                 Phone: +49-421-200-3212       
School of Engineering and Science               Fax: +49-421-200-3103
International University Bremen                 m.oliver at iu-bremen.de
Campus Ring 1                                   oliver at member.ams.org 
28759 Bremen, Germany                 http://math.iu-bremen.de/oliver

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