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Open Source 'Sage' Takes Aim at High End Math Software 360

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that'll-take-awhile dept.
coondoggie writes "A new open source mathematics program is looking to push aside commercial software commonly used in mathematics education, in large government laboratories and in math-intensive research. The program's backers say the software, called Sage, can do anything from mapping a 12-dimensional object to calculating rainfall patterns under global warming."
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Open Source 'Sage' Takes Aim at High End Math Software

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2007 @10:20AM (#21623655)
    Plus, its creators' heads can probably fit through normal-sized doorways.
    • Re:Added benefit (Score:4, Informative)

      by the_womble (580291) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @12:44PM (#21624623) Homepage Journal
      If you want a minus they are going to have to change the name: using a name already used by a very well known piece of software is a bad idea. They could have googled for "sage" before choosing the name.

      It being a different type of app is no help: remember Pheonix/Firebird?
      • Re:Added benefit (Score:5, Informative)

        by Garridan (597129) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @03:11PM (#21625867)
        We've discussed this at length. At the present, there is no need to change the name -- there are actually quite a number of projects named Sage.

        Accounting software [sagesoftware.com]
        Browser plugin [mozdev.org]
        ... and there's actually another SAGE project at the University of Washington (which I can't find a link for) which does something entirely different.

        If any of these present a real problem, we've discussed the name Sage Math -- but there's no reason to change yet.
      • Re:Added benefit (Score:4, Informative)

        by RenaissanceGeek (668842) <ross.holmberg@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday December 08, 2007 @03:49PM (#21626149)
        This isn't the first piece of software to use the same name as another program.

        Microsoft Excel [wikipedia.org] comes to mind.

        MS settled the trademark infringement lawsuit by agreeing to always refer to it as "Microsoft Excel".

        Eventually, MS just bought the original trademark owner, thus ending the issue completely.

  • by blake1 (1148613) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @10:24AM (#21623673)
    but I thought Doc only just figured out the 4th.
  • by MollyB (162595) * on Saturday December 08, 2007 @10:24AM (#21623677) Journal
    Downloadable for Linux, Mac, and the other one:
    http://sagemath.org/ [sagemath.org]
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @10:27AM (#21623699) Homepage Journal
    As an international evil mastermind I have numerous plans which require advanced mathematical calculations and simulations to be performed (wiping out the human race, transmogrifying all kittens into war machines, etc - the usual kind of stuff).

    I was wondering if the license of this software will allow me to achieve my goals without giving up my principles and secrets?
    • by WWWWolf (2428) <wwwwolf@iki.fi> on Saturday December 08, 2007 @10:41AM (#21623801) Homepage

      As an international evil mastermind I have numerous plans which require advanced mathematical calculations and simulations to be performed (wiping out the human race, transmogrifying all kittens into war machines, etc - the usual kind of stuff).

      I was wondering if the license of this software will allow me to achieve my goals without giving up my principles and secrets?

      Regrettably in this release, SAGE is somewhat limited and would not meet your goals. Due to some unforeseen limitations, it can only run in Baby Mulching Machines at the moment. However, I believe the next release has worked out these little kinks.

      • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @12:14PM (#21624383)

        ...Baby Mulching Machines

        Mulching is one of the simplest and most beneficial things you can do for your home garden. As mulches slowly decompose, they provide organic matter which helps keep the soil loose. This improves root growth, increases the infiltration of water, and also improves the water-holding capacity of the soil.

        As any parent can tell you, babies are an excellent source of organic material.

  • Very Nice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lansirill (244071) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @10:30AM (#21623711)
    I haven't had a chance to play around with this yet, but if it's as good a replacement for Mat* as R is for S+ and SAS, I'm quite happy to see it. I'm sad that I'll probably never be able to touch it unless I change my job as I've been told it would, quite literally, require an act of Congress to allow us to use anything other than SAS for our work. It will still be great to have access to a (hopefully) well documented library of algorithms that I can tear into, instead of trying to cobble together things that seem good to me at the time. Huzzah, hip hip, and all those fun things.
  • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @10:35AM (#21623749)
    How does sage compares with other mathematics FLOSS like maxima, axiom and yacas? Another question is how come they opted to start a new project instead of contributing to other already established projects?
    • by m2943 (1140797) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @11:00AM (#21623917)
      Maxima, Axiom, and Yacas were all developed specifically as computer algebra systems, with everything best done within their framework, and based on their own languages.

      Sage, on the other hand, focuses on gluing together other packages and uses Python. That means that Sage gets a lot of functionality out of the box that you don't easily get in those other packages. For example, Sage uses Twisted for its web service, Pyrex for native code compilation, Numpy for numerical computations, Vtk for 3D visualization, etc.

      Also, Sage can invoke packages like Maxima, Axiom, and Yacas and glue them together with each other and other packages.
    • It includes them (Score:3, Informative)

      by Per Abrahamsen (1397)
      It includes maxima and a lot of other packages. It seems to me that Sage is an attempt to glue together the various existing free math packages using Python. I'm not sure what I think of it, it makes it somewhat confusing to get started with because it does so many different things.
    • by mhansen444 (1200253) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @11:10AM (#21623981)
      Sage provides much more functionality than existing FLOSS projects. One of the ways it does this is by making use of those project. For example, Sage comes with Maxima and uses it as an engine to do symbolic calculus type computations. Axiom can be used from within Sage if it is installed as well. Sage also includes GAP, which is the open-source package for doing abstract algebra computations. One of the main reasons for starting a new project was to take advantage of existing projects and tie them together. Also, most of the existing software focused primarily . The lead developer is a number theorist and needed a fast, extensible platform to carry out his research. None of the existing FLOSS CASs provided this.
    • by fredrikj (629833)
      As others have said, Sage glues together existing high-quality software. Asking why William Stein opted to start a new project instead of contributing to established projects is a bit like asking why Mark Shuttleworth started Ubuntu instead of contributing to Linux.
  • by gambit3 (463693) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @10:36AM (#21623753) Homepage Journal
    yeah, but can it do pretty graphs? Everyone knows that's what people are looking for: pretty 3D graphs.
  • Continuum (Score:5, Funny)

    by drooling-dog (189103) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @10:37AM (#21623763)

    do anything from mapping a 12-dimensional object to calculating rainfall patterns under global warming
    So those two things are at the extrema of a continuum of what it can do, and I have to figure out whether my particular application also lies on that continuum? Or am I taking this statement too literally?
  • Not new (Score:2, Informative)

    by JadeNB (784349)
    SAGE has been around for a long time. Will Stein's homepage seems to be down -- possibly slashdotted -- so I can't tell the exact date, but it's certainly been in existence at least since 2004.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2007 @11:00AM (#21623915)

    mapping a 12-dimensional object to calculating rainfall patterns under global warming
    I can do that in Perl, C, assembler, and any other Turing complete language. But I use Mathematica because it is full of functionality, fairly reliable, and has a very elegant programming paradigm. Also, as a student, it'll cost me $100-150, depending on where I live, for the lifetime of my studentship, assuming no site license; the kinds of business that run this software commercially really don't care too much about a $2500 license fee.

    This is just like GIMP trying to take on Photoshop. When you're a kid, Adobe prices seem so off-putting that you can't see why people wouldn't flock to the free alternative. When you're doing a real job involving print work, you simply don't think twice about paying Adobe for the required feature set, intuitive UI and better workflow.

    So, kids will carry on pirating Adobe or paying a much reduced student price, then paying for it when they go into the real world; and the same goes for Maple, Matlab, Mathematica, or whatever.

    Oh, yeah, the whole "open source" thing. Excepting core functionality, some of Mathematica and the majority of Maple is provided in source form. You can whine about needing peer review of implementation at all levels, but how many of you have inspected your CPU's microcode or circuit diagrams? At some point the line is drawn, and you combine a trust in the reputation of your vendor with the fact that usually you're prototyping and modelling. Things will be re-implemented and tested in many ways before your "final product" is out of the door (whether that's theoretical physics or an aeroplane).
    • by mhansen444 (1200253) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @11:25AM (#21624065)
      Since you specifically mentioned Mathematica, I'd like to address some reasons why Sage was created when something like Mathematica exists. While good for some types of problems (calculus, solving equations, etc.), Mathematica is not so good at a number of other ones (linear algebra, abstract algebra, number theory). Many of these are important to the Sage developers who need this type of functionality. Mathematica's programming language is a whole lot less flexible than a "real" programming language like Python. Plus, with Mathematica, you aren't allowed to change the internals -- you're stuck with what you get.

      These were all reasons that led William Stein to start up Sage.

      --Mike ( a Sage developer )
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I have to throw down the b.s. flag on your comment that "Mathematica's programming language is a whole lot less flexible than a real programming language like Python."
        That comment would indicate that you do not know how to program in a functional programming language like Lisp and APL. When ever I see or hear a comment like that and look at the code the person has written, the person has tried to use a functional language as if it was an imperative language.
    • by hweimer (709734) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @11:32AM (#21624101) Homepage
      But I use Mathematica because it is full of functionality, fairly reliable, and has a very elegant programming paradigm. Also, as a student, it'll cost me $100-150, depending on where I live, for the lifetime of my studentship, assuming no site license; the kinds of business that run this software commercially really don't care too much about a $2500 license fee.

      Free software isn't about price -- it is about freedom. One of the research groups at my university cannot use Mathematica since a few weeks because the license expired, and neither renewing the license nor contacting tech support has so far brought a solution.

      Another no-go is that Mathematica 6 notebooks are not compatible with Mathematica 5 notebooks. Also, the unwillingness of Wolfram to timely fix bugs leading to wrong results is unacceptable. I could go on ranting like this, but recently I have completely switched to Maxima [osreviews.net] and have not regretted it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bunratty (545641)
        I'm listening to Will Stein's talk about Sage right now, and he mentions the licensing fees as one of the two main problems with commercial mathematics software. The other is that users should be able to examine and change the software as desired, as you mention.
      • by failedlogic (627314) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @02:07PM (#21625315)
        I think the other problem on affordability, is that many software packages are not affordable for those of us who want to learn at home for career development purposes. This not only applies to mathematical software but also much of business software and creative software (video, document layout, etc), CAD, etc. . It would be nice to pay $100 for a yearly license or have a limited non-expiring demo that can only be used for non-commercial purposes or watermarking in someway the end results so that if used in a non-commercial purpose it would be evident an unlicensed copy was used.

        I don't want to be unfair to the companies I've enquired about this problem by naming them, but I'm often quoted that I would qualify for an academic license which expires within the software after 1 year with no upgrade options for $1000. After a work day I don't have much "time" to learn the software at home and $1000 is steep for the amount of time I would use it. The problem, simply, is that my program at college did not teach me adequately how to use a given software package or I was not taught it but know it is used in the field. If I'm to have several years experience with software to qualify for a job, I'd at least like to say that I know how to use it, but not in the workplace. Is there no solution in this case? I know I am not alone as my friends and colleagues would love to take on some computer software learning time.
         
    • by MartinG (52587)
      Open source has nothing to do with trusting vendors or drawing lines. One of the central points of open source software is that I want to read it because I might want to change and improve it for myself, and I may want to freely pass those changes to others. Comparing to hardware such as CPUs is bogus because even if I did know how my CPU worked internally, I don't have the fabrication plant to make a new version, nor is it trivially simple to give everyone else the same benefit for next to zero cost beca
    • by Detritus (11846)
      Many people who are interested in mathematics do not qualify for an academic license. The existing license fees are way too expensive for most individuals and many organizations.
    • Oh, yeah, the whole "open source" thing. Excepting core functionality, some of Mathematica and the majority of Maple is provided in source form.

      For now. But since the program is closed source and very expensive, what happens 30 years from now when Wolfram won't give you the version the original result of interest was created on and it's illegal to get it anywhere else? Oh, and the formatting options changed over 30 years so the results look different and you can't tell easily if they're still the same

    • by S3D (745318) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @12:16PM (#21624389)
      The point here is not workflow or intuitive UI.
      The point is, mathematics and other research rely more and more on computer algebra systems. Up to the point of including CAS code into proofs of theorems and other research paper. However the point of mathematical proof is that anyone with enough knowledge can follow it and verify it step by step. If commercial closed source software is part of mathematical proof, proof is becoming essentially unverifiable. Mathematical theorem become hostage of software owner. That is a step toward complete privatization of science.
      On of the ugliest incident happens then owner of your favorite Mathematica Steven Wolfram claimed ownership of proof of CA rule 110 universalty [wikipedia.org] and obtained a court order preventing researcer from the publishing the proof in the conference proceedings. To publish it as the Mathematica code in his books.
    • by Beetle B. (516615)

      This is just like GIMP trying to take on Photoshop. When you're a kid, Adobe prices seem so off-putting that you can't see why people wouldn't flock to the free alternative. When you're doing a real job involving print work, you simply don't think twice about paying Adobe for the required feature set, intuitive UI and better workflow.

      Yes, real professionals are more than welcome to use Maple. But an avid math amateur like myself is not going to pay the huge fees they ask for once I'm no longer a student.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by marcello_dl (667940)
      You make a great assumption in dividing users into students and pros. Do you need to be a pro to use, say, the gimp resynthesize plugin, which is great to remove spurious stuff from a photo? Not at all. I don't understand the options, but i select the offending area and it works. The toy graphic packages i had with the digital camera and the scanner hadn't got anything similar. They have 20% of the features of gimp. And then there's xara [xaraextreme.org]. They lack when it's time to go to print? How many people work on stuf
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheVoice900 (467327)

      the kinds of business that run this software commercially really don't care too much about a $2500 license fee.
      Well, as someone who works at a scientific simulation company, I can tell you that we *do* care about a $2500 license fee. We don't use Mathematica, most of our work is accomplished using GNU Octave, PyMol, VMD, and a host of other open-source applications.
  • FINALLY! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by yamamushi (903955) <yamamushi@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Saturday December 08, 2007 @11:03AM (#21623943) Homepage
    I think a lot of us can agree that open source software like this should have been developed YEARS ago, so I'm glad to finally see a good alternative to MATLAB and Mathematica out, I was getting kind of tired of pirating my Mathematica software. Plus with the added benefit of being scripted in Python, I'm sure this project is going to take off like wildfire.
    • Re:FINALLY! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mahlerfan999 (1077021) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @11:17AM (#21624023)

      I was getting kind of tired of pirating my Mathematica software.
      That's not the reason why open source mathematics software needs to be better developed (your comment is also sadly echoed in the article which didn't get the point). It has nothing to do with the price tag (free as in beer is not why foss is important in math and science), it has to do with reproducibility. The whole point of science and math is that a result can't be accepted if it can't be reproduced. And anything that uses closed source algorithms as part of the process is not transparent, and thus not necessarily reproducible. From personal experience I can tell you that numerical computations depend strongly on the algorithm that you choose, and it's just as important as the rest of the problem.
      • Re:FINALLY! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @04:20PM (#21626405)

        It has nothing to do with the price tag (free as in beer is not why foss is important in math and science), it has to do with reproducibility.

        I disagree. Both are important factors. Being able to view all the source is important, but so is having the software available to the 80% of the planet that cannot currently afford it. This could lead to huge advances simply because it opens areas of research to thousands of brilliant mathematicians who make less in a year than the cost of Mathematica.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      I'm sure this project is going to take off like wildfire.

      I wouldn't hold my breath. They are already at version 2.8.15, so this doesn't sound exactly like new software to me. Now I'm not exactly in the mathematics field, considering many comments here it's not that well known. On the other hand, they are already at version 2.8.15, which indicates the project is not new so does have a decent support base. Anyway good luck to the developers with it, it seems to be useful for the mathematicians under us.

  • Sage is interesting and has been around a while, but it isn't packaged by distros - probably because it requires lots of other programs (maxima etc) but modifies them all slightly.
  • Here is a full feature open source Visualization package [llnl.gov]. Though not quite the same as Sage, there are other options out there.
  • by starseeker (141897) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @11:38AM (#21624135) Homepage
    I am not personally involved with SAGE, but I know a little about it. Rather than being a totally new system in all respects (although there is certainly new code created for it) SAGE attempts to make use of the plethora of existing open source systems available already and provide a unified interaction environment for them. As it says above, SAGE takes aim at the functionality offered by commercial systems.

    This is undeniably a practical approach that will benefit many research teams, and I am rooting for its success. My main concern with it is that by using a wide array of libraries/programs to cover broad functionality, it will become difficult to integrate results from one system into the computations of another. Different systems may make different default assumptions (sometimes very subtle ones) that other systems will not be aware of. Efforts like OPENMATH (http://www.openmath.org) that have attempted to define a protocol for exchange of mathematical information between systems have run into this before.

    Unfortunately, any proper solution to that problem is likely to be even more work than re-implementing algorithms inside a single environment. A framework for a CAS that could handle such broad scope is a problem (Axiom probably comes the closest right now) so for problems that don't hit the more difficult situations SAGE will be very useful indeed, but it is something to bear in mind.

    In the very long term, we need to integrate formal proof software concepts (ISABELLE, ACL2, COQ, etc.) with computer algebra systems in order to be able to trace any calculation back to its axiomatic roots at need - or, put another way, have the system be able to provide upon request correctness proofs of a result. There is a fair bit of literature on that and related topics, but it cannot be denied that the problem is an awesome one. In the meantime, SAGE is a very promising short term (practical) solution to real world problems.

    SAGE's developers are also supporters of the idea of open source software in general, which is probably the most important aspect of the whole discussion: http://www.ams.org/notices/200710/tx071001279p.pdf [ams.org]

    It may be argued that computers are not really an appropriate tool when truly "correct" mathematics must be relied upon. My response to that is that as problems of interest become ever more complex, limitations both of the human mind and the human life span will ultimately limit the problems we can solve unaided. The task for us now is to create a system we CAN trust to solve problems correctly, because someday we will have to trust it to solve problems we cannot handle. Some researchers would probably have a philosophical objection to that and define any problem human beings cannot solve and verify themselves as a problem where we will always be uncertain if it is really solved. The philosophical questions involved are fascinating for people who like that sort of thing. My take on it is such a system would be useful and is worth looking into.

    SAGE is more pragmatic in its orientation, but that means for many (most?) people it is a project to watch and probably a product to use. Here's hoping they can build increased momentum!
    • by ortholattice (175065) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @02:06PM (#21625303)

      It may be argued that computers are not really an appropriate tool when truly "correct" mathematics must be relied upon. My response to that is that as problems of interest become ever more complex, limitations both of the human mind and the human life span will ultimately limit the problems we can solve unaided. The task for us now is to create a system we CAN trust to solve problems correctly, because someday we will have to trust it to solve problems we cannot handle.

      There is a mathematical proof verification language, Metamath [wikipedia.org], whose rigor and/or correctness (meaning freedom from bugs) are probably near the top, if only because (1) the proof language is trivially simple and (2) as a result half a dozen independently written proof verifiers have been coded, in C, Haskell, Python (300 lines of code), Java, Lisp, and Lua, so the likelihood they all have the same bug is pretty small. It stands in contrast to some other proof verifiers or theorem provers that embed complex internal algorithms and tend to be very large programs that would be hard to formally verify for correctness - and in some cases are closed source (like Mizar [wikipedia.org], which BTW probably has the largest body of mathematical knowledge developed for it).

      A problem with Metamath is that it is very labor-intensive to develop proofs. The proof of 2 + 2 = 4 [metamath.org] has 23,000 steps from ZF set theory axioms, and the computation of cosine of 2 [metamath.org] to one decimal place has some 75,000 steps that take several seconds for the verifier to verify. All of these steps were entered by hand (although once a collection of theorems are developed they can be reused, so proofs become easier as a body of knowledge is developed). All of these steps are absolutely, rigorously correct - assuming that at least one of the independent verifiers has no bugs. Unlike a 75,000 line computer program, there is no such thing a a bug in the proof - a proof is either right or wrong (i.e. not a proof).

  • SAGE gives you easy access to documentation and source code. Type plot? for help on the plot command and plot?? to see the source code.

    This should be used in all free software, from Firefox to KDE and from bc to cp. The user should be able to have a more direct access to source code to encourage more people study it and hack it. If Firefox users could move their mouse over a button and right-click and select "view source" to see the actual source code generating the button or the called methods, perhaps more people would feel more inclined to contribute to free software.

  • At present, the two main math software packages are Maple [wikipedia.org] and Mathematica [wikipedia.org]. Mathematica is entirely closed source. With Maple, most of the source code can be viewed (though it is copyrighted and cannot be copied). This means that you can check the algorithms used in Maple, but not in Mathematica.

    There are some packages that are called by Maple that are closed source. For example, Maple calls the NAG Numerical Libraries [wikipedia.org] for a substantial amount of its numeric computations; the NAG routines are closed s
  • Sage is an browser-based open-source tool developed at the University of Washington that the school says more than a hundred mathematicians from around helped build.
    Around what? Just around?
  • The Sage Notebook (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mhansen444 (1200253)
    One nice feature that Sage has is its web-based interface -- the Sage Notebook. This inteface was designed with the Google documents interface in mind in terms of sharing and collaborating on worksheets. The Sage notebook also provides a web-based interface to most every piece of math software out there (so long as you have it installed on your computer): Maple, Magma, Mathematica, Matlab, Axiom, Maxima, Octave, Macauly2, Singular, etc.. Or, in one workshhet, one can have one cell be a Mathematica cell
  • I am a mathematician and shelling out a few hundred or even thousand bucks for software is not a problem. A problem is that there is that there is a gap in tools. There is one tool missing that would make math much more accessible. The tool an IDE. Most IDEs that exist for witting math are modeled after software development IDEs. But those do not at all parallel how mathematicians think or write. We end up with a lot of paper and books in higher math (post introductory undergrad level) that are writte
    • by superwiz (655733)
      Arrgh... so it should have been writing not "witting" in the last few lines. Maybe I should trust automated tools less....
  • Matlab (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Liquid Len (739188) on Saturday December 08, 2007 @12:42PM (#21624601)
    I work in Europe, as a researcher, and two and three years ago, the Mathworks (the company behind Matlab) decided we weren't eligible to research/education prices anymore. They did the same with a bunch of other institutes (in Europe, I don't know about the US). We operate an experimental reactor, whose control is largely based on Matlab programs. Some of these were developed a long time and people left, or retired. There's a lot to be said about the way this was handled by our management, but that's the way it is. So, we had to admit we were screwed, having to pay the price. We met with the Mathworks representatives, and I have to say all I saw a bunch of arrogant jerks.
    Anyway, since then, we've renewed our licences every year, and we've been looking for an alternative. We even tried to migrate the whole lab to Scilab [scilab.org] but that didn't work out (mostly because of the limited capabilities of Scilab in scientific plotting and GUIs). Some of us use Python + Matplotlib (I'm a big fan), some (often the same people) use Octave. Although we've converted some individuals, we weren't able to find a software which could be used by everyone in the lab as a substitute to Matlab. This is frustrating, as the vast majority of people here use only a fraction of the capabilities of Matlab.
    I for one, would be really happy if we had something to replace Matlab, be it Sage or whatever else...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2007 @06:11PM (#21627117)
    That is the question. What makes Matlab so great (for me at least) is that I can sit down and just work. I dont have to fight with the syntax. I dont have to fight with the documentation. What I dont like about Matlab is how closed off it is to other apps/libraries (the price is an issue too). A good, functional open source alternative could fix this.

    However, I tried out Numpy/SciPy about a year ago and again about an hour ago after I saw this article. I was hoping Sage would provide an "intersection" of sorts for Numpy/SciPy/VTK/R/Octave/etc. At least, that was my major issue about a year ago. There was so much disconnect I spent more time reading documentation and Googling than anything else. Alas, today was the same thing all over again.

    One of the most common things I do in Matlab is solve Ax=b. So I made my 'A' matrix (3x3), my 'b' vector (3x1) and tried a "linalg.solve(A,b)". No dice. I got 2 blocks of Python error messages (yes, I checked my matrix dimensions and made sure I was using Matrix and not an array). The "final" error was something about "an undefined shape attribute in my b vector". Uh... yeah. I played with it for about an hour or so and then deleted it.

    What has been done so far has promise, I think. But it needs to mature a lot more. In its present state I was left slightly annoyed with trying unsuccessfully to do something as simple as least squares regression.

    Again, this problem goes to the heart of the issue. I have to be able to focus on my work. Matlab has issues for sure. But when I dont know how to do something in Matlab, or I hit a snag, 90% of the time Im "back to work" in ~5-10 minutes max. I'll check it out again in a year or so. Until then, Im using Matlab. Sorry.

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