[Numpy-discussion] Numeric 24.0

Michiel Jan Laurens de Hoon mdehoon at ims.u-tokyo.ac.jp
Tue Apr 5 20:34:03 CDT 2005

Travis Oliphant wrote:
> I'd like to release a Numeric 24.0  to get the array interface out 
> there.   There are also some other bug fixes in Numeric 24.0

Thanks for the notification, Travis. I have commited patch #732520 (Eigenvalues 
on cygwin bug fix), which fixes bug #706716 (eigenvalues is broken). It's great 
to be a Numerical Python developer, I get to accept my own patches :-). The same 
patch was previously accepted by numarray.

About the array interface, my feeling is that while it may be helpful in the 
short run, it is likely to damage SciPy in the long run. The array interface 
allows different array implementations to move in different directions. These 
different implementations will be compatible with respect to the array 
interface, but incompatible otherwise (depending on the level of self-restraint 
of the developers of the different array implementations). So in the end, 
extension modules will be written for a specific array implementation anyway. At 
this point, Numerical Python is the most established and has most users. 
Numarray, as far as I can tell, keeps closer to the Numerical Python tradition, 
so maybe extension modules can work with either one without further modification 
(e.g., pygist seems to work with both Numerical Python and numarray). But SciPy 
has been moving away (e.g. by replacing functions by methods). As extension 
module writers are usually busy people, they may not be willing to modify their 
code so that it works with SciPy, and even less to maintain two versions of 
their code, one for Numerical Python/numarray and one for SciPy. Users who could 
previously choose to install SciPy as an addition to Numerical Python, now find 
that they have to choose between SciPy and Numerical Python. As Numerical Python 
has many more extension packages, I expect that SciPy will end up losing users.

Personally I use Numerical Python, and I plan to continue to use it for years to 
come, so it doesn't matter much to me. I'm just warning that the array interface 
may be a Trojan horse for the SciPy project.


Michiel de Hoon, Assistant Professor
University of Tokyo, Institute of Medical Science
Human Genome Center
4-6-1 Shirokane-dai, Minato-ku
Tokyo 108-8639

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