[SciPy-user] ANN: Job Openings at Enthought

eric jones eric at enthought.com
Sun May 16 23:34:59 CDT 2004


This is a bit of a status report I guess for SciPy (www.scipy.org) and
Enthought (www.enthought.com), but, really, it is a long winded job

Among other things, Enthought develops scientific software
for clients. Python is central to to our strategy in this arena.  We have
long supported SciPy and believe strongly in Open Source Software. 
The purpose is to give people a feeling about what we do, the technical
challenges we face, and the skills needed to meet them.

There has been a lot of work on SciPy lately by the Travis Oliphant, Travis
Vaught, Pearu Peterson, Joe Cooper, and on the website by Jon-Eric 
and Janet Swisher.  The site is now upgraded to Plone and we have a 
SciPy 0.3
package out.  If you're interested in seeing the activity level at 
please visit.


It looks like we're averaging about a 100 downloads a day if you add up all
source and binary distributions.  When SciPy 0.1 was released a couple a 
ago, I think we averaged about 10.  Its extremely difficult to 
extrapolate a user
base from such information, the obvious growth is good news.

Other Stuff
In addition to SciPy we have multiple projects going on right now that 
already plug into or will be plugins to a Python-based scientific 
framework called Envisage (sorta like an IDE for science apps) that we're
working on.  The idea is:

(1) To lower the bar as far as work required to get a GUI put
   on the front end of a scientific algorithm.
(2) Develop scientific plugins that can play well together so
   that, for instance, an electromagnetics simulator built by one
   person can be used in conjunction with an optimization plugin
   built by another person and results can be visualized with a
   3D plugin.

This is a hard, long path that requires much work and though.  We have
started the process and actually have built an app on a very early 
version of
the Envisage framework.  The app works great, but it's usage of the 
framework is a
little mixed at this point.  There were a lot of compromises we ended up 
on the framework side in order to ship on time.

Also, I am not sure whether "easy-to-program" and "flexible architecture for
compatible plugins" are not mutually exclusive.  I always have in my 
mind that I
want a smart scientist to be able to build the GUI in a short amount of time
after the algorithm (which is the "hard part") is finished.  I still 
harbor this
wish, but the lessons I've had over the last couple of years suggest 
that the GUI is
actually the most expensive part of development for large apps.  This is 
due to the fact that commercial apps are rarely built around "research" 
-- meaning that the algorithm code usually already exists in some form.  
UIs take tons of time.  Testing them is hard.  Flexibility requires more
complexity (factories, adapters, etc.) than seems necessary at first.  
building *good* UI's is really hard.  Scientist rarely have the patience or
perspective for it -- and yet it is very often difficult to build a good 
UI for
science apps without a scientist's understanding of the underlying problem.

We have a number of tools along with SciPy that we're building that are 
of this puzzle.

  1. Traits -- They at the heart of everything we do.  They provide
     some explicit typing, default GUI's, an observer event model for
     anything that uses them.  They can also require some getting used
  2. Kiva/Enable -- This is the generic drawing system for Python.
  3. Chaco -- Interactive 2D Plotting
  4. PyFace -- MVC layer on top of wxPython.  Supports trees, menus,
     and a few other things right now.  This will grow.
  5. Envisage -- Plugin based GUI framework for scientific applications.
     Beyond the basic GUI that comes from Envisage, we already have a couple
     plugins for profiling code using hotshot and also searching for memory
     leaks.  David Morrill wrote these and they are called gotcha and 
     Martin Chilvers wrote a simple scintilla based plugin for editing 
     and a PyCrust shell is available by default in the app (not
     a plugin at the moment).
     We would love to see a number of other plugins:
      a. Debugger.
      b. IPython-like PyCrust going.
      c. A more full featured script editing plugin.
         (there is a huge list of features here).
      d. Mayavi
      e. etc.

These are all used actively in commercial products that we deliver.  
they are also in various stages of development and will continue to evolve
and grow.  Some are still pretty green.  Portions of these are openly 
now.  All five of the listed tool sets will be open at some point this 
when they are cleaned up a bit.

All of this leads to the fact that we are hiring and looking for smart,
pleasant, communicative people with integrity that are excited about 
this sort of stuff.  There is a lot of software architecture to be done that
needs talented designers.  There is UI design/development that needs 
that care about UIs or UI developers/designers that are really quick at 
scientific problems.  We also need really strong scientists/scientific
developers to do some of the backend coding for commercial products and also
SciPy development.  If you have a background in geophysics, electromagnetics
(especially multi-pole methods) that is a big plus. For this, a PhD is 
helpful, but
not required.  Parallel computing skills wouldn't hurt.  3D 
visualization a la
VTK/Python is a major need.  So is knowledge about 2D rendering to help 
out Kiva and the Enable toolset. Strong Python skills, Python extension 
knowledge and strong C/C++ skills are a big benefit.  Design/development 
with or
of Java NetBeans or Eclipse-like architecture is great -- or any other 
solid GUI
architecture.  Dedication to writing clean/clear code meant for other 
to read is a requirement.

We have 3 or 4 scientific/python positions to fill over the coming 
months, and
we're looking for candidates that have the best mix of the above 
skills.  You'll
join our existing team of scientist/engineers, computer scientists, 
writers, and an HCI specialist.  We like this mix and feel it is the 
best way to
build this sort of software. If you are interested in working at Enthought,
please send us your resume at jobs at enthought.com.  If not, please send this
posting to the smartest people you know that fit some part of the above 
(Python experience not explicitly required).  Salaries are competitive.  
Candidates must
be willing to relocate to Austin, Tx.
eric jones

PS: There are additional positions listed at 
for those interested in business application development (not 
necessarily with Python).

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