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Math Perl Programming Science

Perl Data Language 2.4.10 released 94

First time accepted submitter tonique writes "Perl Data Language (PDL) 2.4.10 has been released. Highlights of the new release are automatic multi-thread support, support for data structures larger than 2 GB and POSIX threads support. Also available is the first draft of the new PDL book. PDL is especially suitable for scientists. For those not in the know, 'PDL gives standard Perl the ability to compactly store and speedily manipulate the large N-dimensional data arrays which are the bread and butter of scientific computing.' Commercial languages used for the same purpose include MATLAB and IDL."
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Perl Data Language 2.4.10 released

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  • Quiz (Score:5, Funny)

    by fph il quozientatore ( 971015 ) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:49AM (#38942235)
    Fill in the missing word.
    PDL: the computational power of Matlab, octave, IDL and NumPy with the __________ of Perl!
    • Re:Quiz (Score:4, Funny)

      by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Monday February 06, 2012 @11:53AM (#38942267)

      flying purple unicorns

    • Tao?
      Tim Toady?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mitashki ( 1116893 )
      LAZYNESS the missing word
    • by jonnat ( 1168035 )

      That's a very Perl-like quiz as many different and apparently completely unrelated statements would fit the answer, possibly all conceivable statements, in fact.

    • by mbkennel ( 97636 )

      What do you mean "missing word"? Looks like good ol perl to me.

    • with the TMTOWTDI [c2.com] of Perl!
      with the fluidity of Perl!
      with the my's and sigils of Perl!

      Then again, Perl is an acquired taste even for me.

    • Re:Quiz (Score:5, Informative)

      by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Monday February 06, 2012 @01:06PM (#38943295) Homepage

      user base.

      Most of the scientific community knows at least a *little* bit of Perl ... they might not know all of the idiosyncrasies (eg, I've found more than a fair share of '{IDL,Fortran,C} written in Perl'), but it's far greater than those who know any Python.

      We don't have that many Matlab users in our department, and no Octave users that I'm aware of ... most use IDL, but IDL has the problem that you can't freely distribute your code for others to use. (There's a free runtime, but it can't open or write external files, which isn't so useful for writing tools for others to use)

      We do have a small handful of GDL users, and a growing number of NumPy users (via SunPuy [sunpy.org]), but the problem they're running into is trying to get the scientists to learn Python -- there's enough odd conventions that it's a fair bit of hand-holding initially.

      • That's basically my case. I had picked up a *little* bit of Perl. Then it's been downhill from that!
    • by Spykk ( 823586 )
      s/_*?/regular expressions
    • genuine cross platform abilities
    • Oddly enough, PDL has more "computing power" than NumPy, in the sense that its threading engine works faster and it is less of a memory hog. It is also older than NumPy, having been first written in the late 1990s.

  • There's no need for comments as this is a rare article summary that actually tells you what you want to know. Bravo!
  • Would someone using PDL in practice give examples of where it is used ? The scientific Python ecosystem has grown so well that I hadn't heard of PDL since a long time.
    • by stjobe ( 78285 )

      Use the link in the summary to download the draft of the book, chapter 2 should give you enough of an overview to know at least some things you can do with PDL.

    • There's a small PDL user map [perl.org] and use cases are also listed there.
  • Oh Perl, what CAN'T you do?!

  • Why PDL? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tonique ( 1176513 ) on Monday February 06, 2012 @12:55PM (#38943135)

    Obviously, I forgot to include a link to the the actual PDL site [perl.org]. Sorry about that.

    I'm personally using PDL in the context of environmental noise measurements; I get long series of numbers and need to sum (and handle them in other ways) efficiently. Why, then, PDL and not numPy or something else? It stems from the fact that I had used Perl for scripting and text handling earlier. Also, I wasn't required to use something else. So laziness is a rather strong reason. Perhaps I was also a lost cause (that's perhaps a wrong phrase?) because I had started with Perl already.

    I'm a firm believer in "use a tool suitable for the purpose", so I use R for statistical things. I shudder at all the things Excel, a prime example of a tool exploitable for multiple purposes, is used by my co-workers...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There's some new language syntax features. Here's what is looks like: %£T$%£$%"^%"

    • by skids ( 119237 )

      Obviously you haven't spent any time on #perl6.

      The new features look like this:

      none($/<dotted>.ast >>+&<< (255 <<+^<< $/<subnet_mask>.ast))
                                  or fail("Address does not conform to subnet mask");

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Personally I like HDF5. Compact, fast, can be read/written in parallel, bindings to many languages. A bit of a pain to learn at first, but well worth it.

  • IAMA PDL user (Score:5, Insightful)

    by omission9 ( 178213 ) on Monday February 06, 2012 @02:40PM (#38944445)

    I was happy to be reading /. on my lunch break and see PDL mentioned. I use PDL and am glad to see it get some notice.
    I am disappointment in the comments so far though. The anti-Perl froth is strong in this thread and I am not sure why?
    Here is my point of view:
            -Use whatever programming language suits you and your task the best. Maximize for total productivity which is a function of both of these things in varying degrees.
            -Perl suits me best, personally, as a comfortable tool This is kind of squishy...it just feels right to me. MANY MANY people agree with me. But maybe you don't. meh.
            -My tasks involve (a) parsing data from a variety of sources and (b) number crunching. Perl is already fantastic at (a). PDL makes Perl fantastic at (b).
            -The people behind PDL use it for even more numerically complex tasks than I. Check out the docs and mailing lost archives and see. http://pdl.perl.org/?page=mailing-lists
            -If you are already writing code in C, Python, Fortran or whatever else than you should stick with it. Moving over to PDL just because it exists doesn't make any sense, of course.
    Now, as a Perl and PDL user could someone please explain to me the string visceral reaction shown by people in these comment threads whenever it is mentioned? Did Larry Wall challenge you to a bar fight once or something? (Probably not, I met him once and he doesn't seem like a bar fight kind of guy.)

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by skids ( 119237 )

      Some people lack the ability to understand Perl code, and fear what they do not understand.

      • Re:IAMA PDL user (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ThePhilips ( 752041 ) on Monday February 06, 2012 @05:34PM (#38946555) Homepage Journal

        It is more like: Some people lack the ability to write clean Perl code, and fear the clean code as it might make look the job too easy.

        Perl is indiscriminate at making things easy, even if that is writing crappy code.

        Unreadable Perl code isn't the problem of the language, it is the problem of the developers. Trying to fixing it at the language level is wrong and redundant, because in the end it would become Visual Basic or Java or Python. And we already have them.

        • I prefer Perl to Python, but I would not group Python with Visual Basic or Java.

          I think the main reason Perl has a bad reputation has nothing to do with the language syntax and everything to do with the dot com boom. All these companies were hiring people who knew nothing about web computing and who made things up as they went along. Perl was a hot language at the time, so the hordes of newbies ran with it. The end result is hundreds of millions of klugey, poorly organized, poorly documented, poorly
    • Yes, this is an ongoing problem, and it is what made Python the more popular solution. Perl is easy to write, but harder to write well -- the whole point of the language is that it is rich and expressive, without a lot of imposed structure. People who write Perl as they learn tend to write crappy, unmaintainable Perl. The result is that most students' first experience with Perl is of crappy, unmaintainable spaghetti-Perl. Those students often grow up to become Perl-haters.

      Python is more novice-friendly

  • For shortly it will bear the burden of millions upon millions of lines of FORTRAN written in Perl.

The world is coming to an end--save your buffers!