[SciPy-user] Matlab, Scipy and teaching science

Robert Kern rkern at ucsd.edu
Thu Oct 20 14:17:13 CDT 2005

Peter Bowyer wrote:
> Hi Robert,
> At 10:33 20/10/2005, Robert Kern wrote:
>>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.
> Playing the devils advocate, doesn't that apply to learning any new 
> programming language - because there's always an inertia to 
> overcome?  If you substitute Python for Matlab in the above, do you 
> say it doesn't hold true?

No, because Python is an actual, useful programming language. Matlab is
barely one. It's quite appropriate to write GUIs in Python. It is never
appropriate to write GUIs in Matlab.

Python isn't appropriate for *everything*, but it carves out a
humongously larger territory than Matlab.

Robert Kern
rkern at ucsd.edu

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
 Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
  -- Richard Harter

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