[SciPy-user] python (against java) advocacy for scientific projects

David Cournapeau david@ar.media.kyoto-u.ac...
Tue Jan 20 07:10:12 CST 2009

Sturla Molden wrote:
> On 1/20/2009 10:38 AM, David Cournapeau wrote:
>> People in Lisp or OCAML communities
>> almost never code in another language, at least not as often as we do
>> in python 
> Which, for Common Lisp, is due to optional static typing. To some 
> extent, a 'fast' Common Lisp like SBCL or CMUCL have more in common with 
> Cython than Python.
> But for a purely synamic language like Python, the Java VM is more 
> interesting. The speed of this VM/JIT is not due to Java's static 
> typing. Hotspot was originally developed for StrongTalk, a JIT compiled 
> implementation of Smalltalk (a dynamic language). Sun bought the company 
> who created StrongTalk to use the StrongTalk VM for Java.
> In addition to Smalltalk, there are also very efficient implementations 
> of Scheme (e.g. Staling, Ikarus, Bigloo, Larency). Again this proves 
> that it is possible to create fast implementations of dynamic languages. 
> It just has not been done yet for Python.

Yes, I did not want to imply it was not possible to do a fast python
implementation, only that there isn't any today for any production
usage. But going into C/Cython/Etc...  when one needs speed seems very
consensual  in python community, and I am always a bit surprised by this.

Maybe one of those examples where something is just good enough at some
point in history, which prevents more progress until it is too late.
Typically, I have a hard time imagining smalltalk being very useful for
anything but prototyping 30 years ago, and I would guess that things
like self were simply mandatory to make smalltalk usable in bigger
projects. But I was not born 30 years ago, so this can just be one more
proof of my lack of imagination,


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