[SciPy-dev] SciPy versus Matlab, Excel, and other tools

eric jones ejones17 at austin.rr.com
Thu Oct 25 08:46:08 CDT 2001

I'm not from the camp of "Excel bad, Command line good" or visa-versa.  They
both have very nice qualities for different problems.  Many many people use
Excel because non-programmer can do quite sophistaticated analysis using it.
The grid/cell function approach is very powerful.  Heck, you can even do set
up a 2D heat diffusion problem (finite-difference) in the cells very quickly
and watch the solution converge to equilibrium.  Programming/Scripting is
also available for more sophisticated stuff via VB, COM, etc.  It is a
programming model that has an easy interface and yet can scale to more
sophisticated needs.  I don't like VB much, but the general model is good --
and something we can learn from.

Graphs that you can manipulate from both the command line and by clicking on
the graph is very desirable.  Of course other tools like Origin, Matlab,
IDL, Maple, SciGraphica, etc. all have things we can learn from to.  I'm
especially interested in borrowing ideas from SciGraphica as our plotting
moves forward.  We could just start using SciGraphica in SciPy, but it
relies on GTK which is a show-stopper on windows (I know it is ported, but
it ain't supported or stable, and it doesn't have a native look).  We can
also borrow some ideas from Sping, etc.  There is much work to do improving
SciPy's graphics.  Besides solidifying the majority of SciPy's interface,
I'd say this was 2nd in line as most important next task -- well
documentation and unit tests rank way up there also...

see ya,

----- Original Message -----
From: "A.J. Rossini" <rossini at blindglobe.net>
To: <scipy-dev at scipy.org>
Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2001 9:06 AM
Subject: Re: [SciPy-dev] SciPy versus Matlab, Excel, and other tools

> >>>>> "Jochen" == Jochen Küpper <jochen at jochen-kuepper.de> writes:
>     Jochen> Excel? What kind of "scientist" did you ask? I don't know
>     Jochen> any serious scientist who uses Excel for more than
>     Jochen> calculating a mean or getting a histogram. (Btw, these
>     Jochen> people also publish standard deviations for 2-value
>     Jochen> means... Well, it's not wrong, I guess)
> I sadly know many excellent scientists who primarily do analyses in
> excel.  They do take a bit of time to get the analyses out, and the
> analyses tend to be correct, if simplistic (many corrected t-tests
> rather than a reasonably single linear (regression/anova) model).
> Don't judge the tool-user by the tools, however, the mark of a good
> one is the ability to convert when presented with evidence :-).
> best,
> -tony
> --
> A.J. Rossini Rsrch. Asst. Prof. of Biostatistics
> U. of Washington Biostatistics rossini at u.washington.edu
> FHCRC/SCHARP/HIV Vaccine Trials Net rossini at scharp.org
> -------- (fridays are probably at Rosen) --------
> FHCRC: M-W: 206-667-7025 (fax=4812)|Voicemail is pretty sketchy/use Email
> UW:   T-Th: 206-543-1044 (fax=3286)|Change last 4 digits of phone to FAX
> Rosen: (Mullins' Lab) Fridays, and I'm unreachable except by email.
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