[SciPy-user] Matlab, Scipy and teaching science

Robert Cimrman cimrman3 at ntc.zcu.cz
Thu Oct 20 05:44:42 CDT 2005

Robert Kern wrote:
> [I should state before I begin that I have nothing but the deepest
> resentment and animosity towards Matlab.]
> Matlab cripples scientists who learn it as their first introduction to
> "real" programming. They continue to do *everything* in Matlab even when
> Matlab is the most hideously wrong tool to use because they've learned
> Matlab and using any other language would mean spending the effort to
> learn the new language. When they are convinced to learn another
> language, it's usually a low-level language so they can write faster
> code. But then they only write that low-level code as interfaces to
> Matlab so they can continue to do high-level things relatively easily.
> Unfortunately, the real benefits that a high-level language ought to
> provide are largely absent from Matlab. You can't really do any serious
> modularization of your code. Data flows all over the place. If I have to
> work with somebody else's Matlab code and it's more than a page long, I
> just throw it away and rewrite it in Python from scratch. Maybe I'll
> pick out some snippets here and there for guidance, but as a whole, the
> Matlab code is worthless *for communicating ideas*. When you're a
> research scientist, your code is only partially about getting the right
> answer. It's also very important that other people can understand what
> the code is doing and can build on your code.
> ...

As I generally agree, that Matlab is terrible as a programming language,
I must say that even in it one can write a reasonably
structured/modularized code. Of course, in python it's orders of
magnitude easier. Btw. I am a Matlab user because of various
circumstances, so I had to learn how to live with it but now I am trying
to break the shackles, partially also thanks to the existence of SciPy
and similar projects!


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