[Numpy-discussion] Args for rand and randn: call for a vote

Sasha ndarray at mac.com
Wed Jul 12 13:33:40 CDT 2006

Let me repeat my suggestion that was lost in this long thread:

Add rands(shape, dtype=float, min=default_min(dtype), max=default_max(dtype))
to the top level. Suitable defaults can be discussed.  A more flexible
variation could
be rands(shape, dtype=float, algorithm=default_algorithm(dtype)), but
that would probably be an overkill.

I think this will help teaching: rands is similar to zeros and ones,
but with few bells and whistles to be covered in the graduate course.

On 7/12/06, Alan G Isaac <aisaac at american.edu> wrote:
> Robert makes his case clearly and persuasively.
> Without pretending to challenge his argument in any way,
> I would just like to clarify what is at issue
> for some of the teaching crowd (or for me in any case).
> - Get up and running very quickly even with students who
>   lack a programming background.  This means having rand()
>   and randn() in the top-level namespace is nice, since
>   I use them early and often.
> - Avoid confusion and frustration.  This is the basis for
>   having a "consistent" calling convention for array
>   constructors (pace Robert's arguments about consistency).
> On Tue, 11 Jul 2006, Robert Kern apparently wrote:
> > And mark my words, if we make rand() polymorphic, we will
> > get just as many newbies coming to the list asking why
> > ones(3, 4) doesn't work.
> That is plausible.
> If polymorphism is chosen for rand() and randn(), I suppose
> I would address this by documenting the current API as
> present for backwards compatability only.  That allows
> a quick answer, but perhaps does not preclude the questions.
> Cheers,
> Alan Isaac
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