[Numpy-discussion] C vs. Fortran order -- misleading documentation?

Pavel Bazant MaxPlanck@seznam...
Tue Jun 8 10:27:01 CDT 2010

> > Correct me if I am wrong, but the paragraph
> >
> > Note to those used to IDL or Fortran memory order as it relates to
> > indexing. Numpy uses C-order indexing. That means that the last index
> > usually (see xxx for exceptions) represents the most rapidly changing memory
> > location, unlike Fortran or IDL, where the first index represents the most
> > rapidly changing location in memory. This difference represents a great
> > potential for confusion.
> >
> > in
> >
> > http://docs.scipy.org/doc/numpy/user/basics.indexing.html
> >
> > is quite misleading, as C-order means that the last index changes rapidly,
> > not the
> > memory location.
> >
> >
> Any index can change rapidly, depending on whether is in an inner loop or
> not. The important distinction between C and Fortran order is how indices
> translate to memory locations. The documentation seems correct to me,
> although it might make more sense to say the last index addresses a
> contiguous range of memory. Of course, with modern processors, actual
> physical memory can be mapped all over the place.
> Chuck

To me, saying that the last index represents the most rapidly changing memory
location means that if I change the last index, the memory location changes
a lot, which is not true for C-order. So for C-order, supposed one scans the memory
linearly (the desired scenario),  it is the last *index* that changes most rapidly.

The inverted picture looks like this: For C-order,  changing the first index
leads to the most rapid jump in *memory*.

Still have the feeling the doc is very misleading at this important issue.


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