[SciPy-User] scipy.optimize named argument inconsistency

Christopher Jordan-Squire cjordan1@uw....
Sat Sep 3 10:58:49 CDT 2011

On Sat, Sep 3, 2011 at 11:42 AM, Skipper Seabold <jsseabold@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 10:31 AM, Denis Laxalde <denis.laxalde@mcgill.ca> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> (I'm resurrecting an old post.)
>> On Thu, 27 Jan 2011 18:54:39 +0800, Ralf Gommers wrote:
>>> On Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 12:41 AM, Joon Ro <joonpyro@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> > I just found that for some functions such as fmin_bfgs, the argument name
>>> > for the objective function to be minimized is f, and for others such as
>>> > fmin, it is func.
>>> > I was wondering if this was intended, because I think it would be better to
>>> > have consistent argument names across those functions.
>>> It's unlikely that that was intentional. A patch would be welcome. "func"
>>> looks better to me than "f" or "F".
>> There are still several inconsistencies in input or output of functions
>> in the optimize package. For instance, for input parameters the Jacobian
>> is sometimes name 'fprime' or 'Dfun', tolerances can be 'xtol' or
>> 'x_tol', etc. Also, outputs might be returned in a different order,
>> e.g., fsolve returns 'x, infodict, ier, mesg' whereas leastsq returns
>> 'x, cov_x, infodict, mesg, ier'.
>> If you still believe (as I do) that consistency of optimize
>> functions should be improved, I can work on it. Let me know.

I'm also a fan of more consistent names. But with the caveat that I'm
not currently using the optimization library for any major code, and I
haven't looked around in the scipy.optimize code base a lot. So my
opinion isn't particularly well-informed.

> +1.
> I'd like to see the input and outputs streamlined as much as possible.
> It would also be nice to have a convenience wrapper around all the
> optimizers so that you can use them with one function. You'll have to
> deprecate the old signatures though.

You mean just a generic function, where you can specify the solver
method and the relevant inputs using the newly unified names?

Sounds good to me. I'm not a fan that the generic fmin function is a
nelder-mead algorithm. Nelder-mead has its place, but I don't think it
should be given the basic, default looking name.

-Chris JS

> Skipper

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