[SciPy-user] Why is SciPy better than Matlab or IDL? ;)

Ken Dere kpdere@verizon....
Thu Jul 9 17:51:45 CDT 2009

Vincent van Beveren wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> I'm an engineer at Rijnhuizen, which is a research institute for plasma
> physics. We use Python to drive one of our main research projects,
> however, in the scientific circles in this institute Python (and SciPy)
> are largely unknown. Time to change this, I think :). However, since I am
> an engineer and not a scientist I my viewpoint on Python and SciPy are
> more of an engineering perspective, like its Open Source, Free, modern
> language, functional programming, etc... I'm not entirely sure these are
> compelling arguments for a scientist to start working with Python (or
> atleast not on it self). So I was wondering, if I was to promote Python in
> the scientific community here at Rijnhuizen. So I have a few questions:
> -          In what aspects does SciPy excel, compared to say IDL or
> matlab?
> -          In what ways allows it a scientist to be more effective?
> -          How usable is SciPy for Plasma physics, molucular dynamics and
> nanolayer Surface and Interface Physics (the 3 main areas at Rijnhuizen)?
> -          How stable is it compared to other packages. (bugs,
> computation)?
> Any comments and insights are welcome!
> Regards,
> Vincent
> PS. Posted in scipy-dev by accident.
> ___
> Ing. V. van Beveren
> Software Engineer, FOM Rijnhuizen
> E: V.vanBeveren@rijnhuizen.nl<mailto:V.vanBeveren@rijnhuizen.nl>

The real question is "why is Python better than Matlab or IDL?"

I don't have an opinion on Matlab since I never used it.  However, I used
IDL professionally for about 20 years or so (just for reference, I am a
solar physicist).

A few years ago, having gotten some proficiency in Python, I pretty much
dropped my usage of IDL and now use Python.  This means python, ipython,
numpy, scipy, matplotlib and whatever other modules I need.  One basic
difference is that I can use it at home, on the road and at work without
need of an expensive license.  Also, I enjoy using it.

I have seem some object-oriented implementations is IDL and they are
pathetic.  It may just be the way it was done but I don't know.  The use of
objects in Python is very straightforward.

Ken Dere

K. Dere

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