[SciPy-dev] SciPy Foundation

nicky van foreest vanforeest@gmail....
Sun Aug 2 15:55:46 CDT 2009


my 2 cts: I completely agree. I try to "force" python upon my
students, and advice them to use python xy. In my opinion this package
is certainly a step in the right direction as it makes using
python/numpy/scipy very easy. Hopefully I am helping raising zealots
(of the right type :-) ) with this.



2009/8/2 Neil Martinsen-Burrell <nmb@wartburg.edu>:
> On 08/02/2009 01:58 PM, David Goldsmith wrote:
>>> I don't think that Joe and I are that far apart either. My point
>>> (very badly formulated) was that trying to make scipy be a
>>> replacement for IDL or matlab is in my opinion not the right goal.
>>> IDL in particular has a lot of field specific code available in it.
>>> I would like to see a structure where scipy provides the
>>> underlaying code needed by many fields (like the Numerical Recipes
>>> codes) but stay away from providing field specific code. Also
>>> scipy should not venture into GUI or provide an interactive
>>> environment like IDL (there are other packages that provide this).
>>> Just my opinion Tommy Grav
>> OK, that helps. :-)
>> Fine goal (between the two, I choose to remain neutral for now), but
>> one comment: you say avoid a GUI, but the kind of "tool set" you
>> describe would greatly benefit from (dare I say require) some sort of
>> UI that makes it "easy" for the uninitiated (at the very least) to
>> find the specific resources they need; IMO, for example, the UI
>> LAPACK provides for this is a good example of how *not* to do it.
> This may be an instrumentality on the way to the "Goal of Scipy"
> (whatever that is) but I wanted to mention here the importance of
> reaching students with SciPy.  Software vendors know this: if a student
> learns about a certain type of computing using your software, then they
> are likely to continue using your software throughout their career.
> Matlab has been stupendously good at this sort of marketing in
> engineering schools, where learning Matlab is seen by some as a
> *required* part of the curriculum, due to its industry dominance.
> Apropos of David's point about the relevance of a GUI, I think that in
> addition to the packaging, documentation and communication aspects of
> Joe's plan, an easy-to-install environment for interactive computation
> is important for teaching students with SciPy.  When I taught an
> undergraduate class on Markov chains using numpy and scipy, it was hard
> for students to install scipy.  Once they had it installed, they were
> able to be moderately productive in IDLE, but they missed some of the
> features of IPython (command completion, saved inputs and output).  An
> interactive Python environment that allowed access to documentation, an
> editor and a rich interpreter would have made the uptake much easier for
> students.
> In the past, Alan has spoken strongly about the importance of the matrix
> class for teaching linear algebra and I want to echo his message about
> the importance of pedagogical usability for the continued adoption of
> the SciPy stack.  Students who start using software in their classes
> will continue using that software throughout their careers, particularly
> so for something such as SciPy which has some significant advantages
> over its better-known competitors.  I think that there is a tendency for
> active researchers to underestimate the importance of
> undergraduate-level learning and I hope that in this discussion, we will
> keep in mind the singular importance of that young audience.
> -Neil
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