Should numpy.sqrt(-1) return 1j rather than nan?

Paul Dubois pfdubois at
Thu Oct 12 13:50:12 CDT 2006

Historical note. When Cleve Moler first created 'matlab' as a tool for
teaching at the University of New Mexico, all numbers were complex. And, in
fact, there was a limit of 10,000 numbers. There was a fixed array where
these 10,000 numbers were stored.

I got pretty excited about his project and wanted to use it to get
eigenvalues etc. for matrices of interest from our codes. But I had a Cray 1
with an entire megaword of memory and my matrices wouldn't fit.

So I set out to hack the code to add a memory manager so that we could use
the entire memory. This was a big success. Then I decided it was sad that I
had to write the matrices out of the code onto a disk and then read them
into matlab, so I got the idea of making something similar as the front end
of the code, only with data types (because I hated only being able to use
half my Cray since my data was real, and our codes were often memory bound)
and a full programming language like Fortran with array syntax for speed.
This idea resulted in Basis ( My interest in Python (and
hence numpy) evolved from that as OOP arrived.
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