[SciPy-dev] Bessel functions from Boost

David Cournapeau cournape@gmail....
Sun Feb 8 19:10:46 CST 2009

On Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 2:23 AM, Pauli Virtanen <pav@iki.fi> wrote:
> Some of the real-valued Bessel function implementations from the Cephes
> library currently used in scipy.special have problems. (See #503, #851,
> #853, #854.) Fixing some of these (eg. #503) would require implementing
> robust computation algorithms from scratch. (The Specfun code is IMHO too
> obscure and badly commented to be relied on as an alternative.)
> However, the Boost library seems to have good implementations Bessel
> (and some other) special functions:
>        http://svn.boost.org/svn/boost/trunk/boost/math/special_functions/detail/
>        http://www.boost.org/doc/libs/1_37_0/libs/math/doc/sf_and_dist/html/math_toolkit/special.html
> Also the license seems Scipy-compatible:
>        http://www.boost.org/LICENSE_1_0.txt
> So, I'd like to bring these over to Scipy, to replace some of the Cephes
> routines.
> The only problem is that being in Boost, they are written in C++, and I
> guess we can't make Scipy to depend on it.
> I see two options:
>  A) Bundle the relevant subset of Boost with Scipy. The problem here
>     is that the special functions seem to pull in a sizable subset
>     of the whole Boost library.
>     Also, I don't know how well compilers handle the template-happy
>     C++ in boost today on all platforms where Scipy must work on.

I am -1 on boost. It is a nightmare to support on many platforms, and
it is unreadable for people who are not C++ hackers.

>  B) Convert the Boost code from C++ to C. This is in fact quite trivial
>     search-and-replace operation. One example here:
>     http://github.com/pv/scipy/blob/ticket-503-special-iv-fix/scipy/special/cephes/scipy_iv.c
> I'd like to see (B) happen in scipy.special. Thoughts?

This is much better - I really don't see the point of using C++ for
math functions. I am ok with this.


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