[SciPy-dev] Renaming scipy_core ???

Fernando Perez Fernando.Perez at colorado.edu
Sun Jan 1 17:58:54 CST 2006

Travis Oliphant wrote:

> sci (arrlab, scicore)/

I'm +0.5 on scicore: I think it emphasizes the fact that this constitutes the 
necessary core functionality for scipy, without any of the current confusion 
problems.  The following is a little experiment, to see how a blurb would read 
(remove the weave reference as needed).  Feel free to s/scicore/your_favorite/ 
to see how it would read:

"""scicore is a package for array-based numerical computing in Python.

It provides a collection of modules useful for a wide variety of numerical 
tasks, similar in spirit to the basic functionality of systems such as Matlab 
or IDL.  At its center is a flexible array type which can be very useful even 
for non-scientific tasks that interface with arrays in C libraries.

The scicore package consists of:

   - ndarray: a package exposing a flexible datatype to efficiently manipulate 
n-dimensional arrays.  Such objects are implemented as C extensions and 
support array element-wise arithmetic and other mathematical operations. 
While they are conceptually similar to the arrays of languages like Fortran90, 
they are in fact much more capable objects, as their contents can consist of 
arbitrary python objects and they have very rich indexing, data access and 
low-level maninpulation capabilities.

   - f2py: ...

The scicore package can be installed on any standard python distribution, and 
it has no other dependencies for installation than Python itself (and a C 
compiler for a source-based install, as there is extension code in it).  At 
runtime, some of its components do require the presence of compilers (f2py 
needs a Fortran compiler, while weave needs a C++ one), but these are not 
needed unless you explicitly import and use f2py or weave.

The scipy package builds on top of scicore, to expose a large collection of 
algorithms and libraries for many tasks in scientific computing.  scipy wraps 
many well-known and field-tested Fortran and C libraries, as well as providing 
  new routines written both in C and in Python.

Just a little experiment in language :)

> ->numpy (ndarray, narray)/

-1 on 'numpy': if at some point in the future this is considered a candidate
for the stdlib, I don't think we want anything with a 'py' suffix in the
package name (not a single module in the stdlib ends in 'py' today, except for 

I also don't want to have to explain to anybody "well, this isn't really the 
old numpy, it's the new numpy, which was written by the guy who was 
maintaining the old numpy, but it's a new code, and it also has features from 
numarray, so it's like the old numpy + numarray + better, but it's called 
numpy again.  Easy, no?"  Really, I don't.

+1 on 'ndarray', because it emphasizes the fact that these are generic,
very flexible (esp. with all the recent enhancements) N-dimensional data
structures.  In that sense, 'narray' has a stronger hint of 'n for numbers',
while Travis has shown that these objects can be much more than traditional
Fortran-type arrays.

I also think ndarray goes well as an extension to the 'array' module in the 
stdlib.  They are, after all, conceptually close.

> **Comment:  I'm thinking about moving weave over to full scipy.  I
> recognize it's utility, but with pyrex gaining popularity and the fact that
> weave is not maintained actively by anyone, it concerns me to keep it in
> the basic package.  I know we talked about this before, but it's the only
> sub-package I still feel timid around.  Is someone willing to step up and
> keep weave up-to-date?

I really think that weave is great, but I also know how annoying it is to 
debug (each patch I've commited for it has taken me an afternoon to understand 
the code flow).  I can volunteer to help with it, but can't really make very 
hard promises on my performance there (ipython is my top priority in terms of 
free software development time).  So if you think it will help to move it over 
to scipy, by all means do so (unless someone else wants to play with weave: 
Prabhu and Robert two others who have tackled the beast in the past...).



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