[Pharo-project] Numerical packages

Eliot Miranda eliot.miranda at gmail.com
Tue May 31 23:17:21 CEST 2011

Hi Nicolas,

On Tue, May 31, 2011 at 1:22 PM, Nicolas Cellier <
nicolas.cellier.aka.nice at gmail.com> wrote:

> I can tell you about Smallapack as author.
> First advantage: using a state of the art robust library
> LAPACK + BLAS is the core of Matlab/Octave/Scilab/R/etc...
> It is robust in terms of API stability, numerical stability, and
> number of bugs (try finding known ones).
> Second advantage: combine advantages of
> - a fast and efficient number crunching library for low level primitives
> - and our favourite IDE for higher level code (interpreter debugger
> browser etc...)
> That's the exact strategy developped by Matlab.
> As a bonus, Smalltalk interpreter is faster than Matlab, and don't ask
> me about Matlab language design (non) choices ;)
> To reach Matlab core preformances, you need an optimized version of
> BLAS (ATLAS for example).
> I imagine versions of these libraries could exploit multi-core
> parallelism (but I did not check status of
> http://www.netlib.org/scalapack/).
> Good news, I have a working Smallapack in both Dolphin and VW.
> Unfortunately, the main drawback is that Squeak/Pharo is not in that list.
> First, Smallapack may crash the image in Squeak/Pharo...
> I've not found the reasons, but suspect some FFI problems.
> Maybe I should try using a plugin rather than FFI. That seems doable
> since low level FFI code is generated automatically from Lapack
> comments. It's just a matter of changing code generator to generate
> slang rather than FFI...

How easy is this to test?  What does one have to install?  Is it all freely
available?  I'd like to find time to test this in the ReentrantFFIPlugin.
 Seems like a good test case.

> Second drawback is that loading Smallapack in a Squeak/Pharo image
> requires some pre-requisite.
> This is because LAPACK has the bad property of having functions with
> more than 16 arguments.
> Squeak/Pharo Compiler cannot handle methods with that many arguments.
> I have a Compiler hack ready for handling this case.

That's easy to fix.  The bytecode set supports up to 31 args.  e just need
to push fixes to the compiler front-end right?

> I have not automated the process because I'm not so sure that
> Gofer/Metacello are good for installing such hack (Compiler overrides
> may seem evil).
> But I can help any good will.
> So, if you're after an off-the-shelf library working out of the box,
> Smallapack is not OK.
> However, if above goals fit yours, and you're willing to help, I'll be
> happy to revive the project and inject a few hours into it.
> Nicolas


> 2011/5/31 Ignacio Vivona <altobarba at gmail.com>:
> > Hi all! I'm currently planning on doing some work related to resolving
> > partial differential equations (shallow water) in pharo. I'm seeing a
> couple
> > of project for dealing with vectors, matrices and some other math things.
> > http://www.squeaksource.com/DHBNumerical.html
> > http://www.squeaksource.com/MatrixPlugin.html
> > http://www.squeaksource.com/Numerics.html
> > http://www.squeaksource.com/Smallapack.html
> > Has anyone any experience working with these?
> > Also I'm looking at Mathmorphs (does it work in
> > pharo?) http://mate.dm.uba.ar/~caniglia/mathMorphs.html and
> > DrGEO http://community.ofset.org/index.php/DrGeo for doing the graphical
> > interaction.
> > If someone knows of some other project related please guide me.
> > Thanks in advance,
> > Ignacio Vivona
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