[SciPy-Dev] adding chkfinite flags to linalg functions

Ralf Gommers ralf.gommers@googlemail....
Sat Aug 27 03:36:40 CDT 2011

On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 10:24 PM, Bruce Southey <bsouthey@gmail.com> wrote:

> On 08/26/2011 02:41 PM, Robert Kern wrote:
> > On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 14:30, Bruce Southey<bsouthey@gmail.com>  wrote:
> >> On 08/26/2011 02:09 PM, Matthew Brett wrote:
> >>> Hi,
> >>>
> >>> On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 11:45 AM, Bruce Southey<bsouthey@gmail.com>
>  wrote:
> >>>> On 08/26/2011 12:02 PM, Christopher Jordan-Squire wrote:
> >>>>> Breaking it into two steps has its own issues associated with it as
> >>>>> well. Then the user must verify their own inputs before passing them
> >>>>> to scipy linalg methods. If I understand your suggestion correctly.
> >>>> That is exactly what your patch is doing because people will misuse
> that
> >>>> argument just because they perceive it as faster.
> >>> I object to this objection.
> >>>
> >>> There's a long tradition of letting people do dangerous things if they
> >>> want to.  Here the option is sensibly labeled and it's not the
> >>> default.
> >> So why not have the patch remove all the calls to asarray_chkfinite()?
> > Because we want the *default* to be safe for all inputs. We want to
> > *allow* people to avoid those checks when they have extra information
> > about the inputs. Adding a flag is a more convenient way to do this
> > than any other alternative.
> OK, so this idea seems to be getting a positive reception. The thing that
still needs to be resolved is whether to call the keyword chkfinite or
check_finite. I have a slight preference for the latter, because it's more
readable (googling a a keyword seems less important).

> You and others are totally ignoring the author has stated (without
> example) that there is a major roadblock when that assumption is wrong.
> I am very aware of that many functions will provide something even if
> the input was not correct. So I agree with Matthew about letting people
> live dangerously as the output will tell them that something was wrong.
> That means there should be no need for asarray_chkfinite() here.

It's not just that functions may return incorrect results; they may hang in
an infinite loop, or crash inside a lapack call for example. Removing
asarray_chkfinite() is not possible. In addition it would break backwards

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