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From Thomas Neidhart <thomas.neidh...@gmail.com>
Subject Re: [Math] Moving on or not?
Date Wed, 06 Feb 2013 14:56:22 GMT
On 02/05/2013 03:08 PM, Gilles wrote:
> Hi.
> 
> In the thread about "static import", Stephen noted that decisions on a
> component's evolution are dependent on whether the future of the Java
> language is taken into account, or not.
> A question on the same theme also arose after the presentation of Commons
> Math in FOSDEM 2013.
> 
> If we assume that efficiency is among the important qualities for Commons
> Math, the future is to allow usage of the tools provided by the standard
> Java library in order to ease the development of multi-threaded algorithms.
> 
> Maintaining Java 1.5 source compatibility for the reason that we may need
> to support legacy applications will turn out to be self-defeating:
> 1. New users will not consider Commons Math's features that are notably
>    apt to parallel processing.
> 2. Current users might at some point simply switch to another library if
>    it proves more efficient (because it actually uses multi-threading).
> 3. New Java developers will be turned away because they will want to use
>    the more convenient features of the language in order to provide
>    potential contributions.
> 
> If maintaining 1.5 source compatibility is kept as a requirement, the
> consequence is that Commons Math will _become_ a legacy library.
> In that perspective, implementing/improving algorithms for which a
> parallel version is known to be more efficient is plainly a waste of
> development and maintenance time.
> 
> In order to mitigate the risks (both of upgrading and of not upgrading
> the source compatibility requirement), I would propose to create a new
> project (say, "Commons Math MT") where we could implement new features[1]
> without being encumbered with the 1.5 requirement.[2]
> The "Commons Math MT" would depend on "Commons Math" where we would
> continue developing single-thread (and thread-safe) "tasks", i.e.
> independent units of processing that could be used in algorithms
> located in "Commons Math MT".
> 
> In summary:
> - Commons Math (as usual):
>   * single-thread (sequential) algorithms,
>   * (pure) Java 5,
>   * no dependencies.
> - Commons Math MT:
>   * multi-thread (parallel) algorithms,
>   * Java 7 and beyond,
>   * JNI allowed,
>   * dependencies allowed (jCuda).
> 
> What do you think?

In general, I am very positive about this proposal, I just think we are
lacking developer resources (also considering the rather high quality
requirements in commons to get a release done).

Otoh, everybody can start a new project in the sandbox, let's see if
this attracts new people?

just my 2 cents

Thomas

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