[SciPy-dev] Introductions, sparse matrix support

Travis Oliphant oliphant at ee.byu.edu
Wed Oct 12 14:00:42 CDT 2005

Ed Schofield wrote:

>Hi all,
>First of all, let me congratulate Travis, Robert, Pearu, and the other 
>core developers for their great work on SciPy and SciPy Core.  I'd like 
>to introduce myself and express my interest to get involved.
We'd love to have you help.  

>I'm the author of a toolkit for maximum entropy modelling (with the 
>misleading Sourceforge project name 'textmodeller') that uses SciPy and 
>PySparse.  I've been reading the scipy-dev list for about a year with 
>interest.  Now I'd like to get involved in SciPy development, starting 
>with improving the sparse matrix module and, when that's in shape, 
>contributing my maxent module to SciPy (if you want it!)
This sounds very interesting to me personally.  I suspect we would be 
glad to have it.

>I've made small contributions to PySparse in the past and briefly 
>discussed the idea of merging PySparse into SciPy with Roman Geus by 
>email.  His comment in April was:
>"So far I  have not had contacts to the scipy people, and admittedly I 
>have never even installed scipy. When creating pysparse (some years ago 
>now) I liked the idea of smaller well-definied packages more, than a big 
>collection dependent packages. "
We are trying to advertise more that scipy is really just a namespace.  
Packages do not have to depend on each other, but inevitably some will.  
In the (near) future it should be easier for developers to simply have 
their package be compatible with SciPy.   If they want to make it part 
of the SciPy tree, then great.  Or, they can still manage it separately 
but make it easily installable with the rest of scipy (and easily 
buildable by people who want to distribute a large install of many 

Any package that used to depend on Numeric will find it much easier to 
integrate with scipy once they convert to scipy core.

>I broadly agree with this philosophy, and it has served PySparse 
>development well until now, but in this case I think that there's value 
>to the community in having a well-integrated core of matrix 
>functionality (sparse and dense) and one set of prerequisites and 
>interfaces rather than several.
Yes, I would like to see some standardization in the sparse stuff.  With 
you, Robert, Dan, and Jonathan coming aboard, it looks like there is a 
critical mass of people who are able to make it happen. 

>I'd be happy to work with Jonathan, Dan, and Robert on sparse matrix 
>support in SciPy, integrating PySparse code with Travis and Robert's 
>UMFPACK wrapper.  Perhaps we could even find support among other 
>PySparse developers.  PySparse currently depends on Numeric, and will 
>need porting to SciPy Core eventually...
Sounds great.  I'm very excited about this.  Just let me know when you 
need SVN access.


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