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From Luc Maisonobe <>
Subject Re: [Math] LeastSquaresOptimizer Design
Date Thu, 24 Sep 2015 20:23:22 GMT
Le 24/09/2015 21:40, Ole Ersoy a écrit :
> Hi Luc,
> I gave this some more thought, and I think I may have tapped out to
> soon, even though you are absolutely right about what an exception does
> in terms bubbling execution to a point where it stops or we handle it.
> Suppose we have an Optimizer and an Optimizer observer.  The optimizer
> will emit three different events given in the process of stepping
> through to the max number of iterations it is allotted:
> - END (Max iterations reached)
> So we have the observer interface:
> interface OptimizerObserver {
>     success(Solution solution)
>     update(Enum enum, Optimizer optimizer)
>     end(Optimizer optimizer)
> }
> So if the Optimizer notifies the observer of `success`, then the
> observer does what it needs to with the results and moves on.  If the
> observer gets an `update` notification, that means that given the
> current [constraints, numbers of iterations, data] the optimizer cannot
> finish.  But the update method receives the optimizer, so it can adapt
> it, and tell it to continue or just trash it and try something
> completely different.  If the `END` event is reached then the Optimizer
> could not finish given the number of allotted iterations.  The Optimizer
> is passed back via the callback interface so the observer could allow
> more iterations if it wants to...perhaps based on some metric indicating
> how close the optimizer is to finding a solution.
> What this could do is allow the implementation of the observer to throw
> the exception if 'All is lost!', in which case the Optimizer does not
> need an exception.  Totally understand that this may not work
> everywhere, but it seems like it could work in this case.

With this version, you should also pass the optimizer in case of
success. In most cases, the observer will just ignore it, but in some
cases it may try to solve another problem, or to solve again with
stricter constraints, using the previous solution as the start point
for the more stringent problem. Another case would be to go from a
simple problem to a more difficult problem using some kind of

best regards,

> Cheers,
> - Ole
> On 09/23/2015 03:09 PM, Luc Maisonobe wrote:
>> Le 23/09/2015 19:20, Ole Ersoy a écrit :
>>> HI Luc,
>> Hi Ole,
>>> On 09/23/2015 03:02 AM, luc wrote:
>>>> Hi,
>>>> Le 2015-09-22 02:55, Ole Ersoy a écrit :
>>>>> Hola,
>>>>> On 09/21/2015 04:15 PM, Gilles wrote:
>>>>>> Hi.
>>>>>> On Sun, 20 Sep 2015 15:04:08 -0500, Ole Ersoy wrote:
>>>>>>> On 09/20/2015 05:51 AM, Gilles wrote:
>>>>>>>> On Sun, 20 Sep 2015 01:12:49 -0500, Ole Ersoy wrote:
>>>>>>>>> Wanted to float some ideas for the LeastSquaresOptimizer
>>>>>>>>> General Optimizer) design.  For example with the
>>>>>>>>> LevenbergMarquardtOptimizer we would do:
>>>>>>>>> `LevenbergMarquardtOptimizer.optimize(OptimizationContext
>>>>>>>>> Rough optimize() outline:
>>>>>>>>> public static void optimise() {
>>>>>>>>> //perform the optimization
>>>>>>>>> //If successful
>>>>>>>>>      c.notify(LevenberMarquardtResultsEnum.SUCCESS, solution);
>>>>>>>>> //If not successful
>>>>>>>>> c.notify(LevenberMarquardtResultsEnum.TOO_SMALL_COST_RELATIVE_TOLERANCE,
>>>>>>>>> diagnostic);
>>>>>>>>> //or
>>>>>>>>> c.notify(LevenberMarquardtResultsEnum.TOO_SMALL_PARAMETERS_RELATIVE_TOLERANCE,
>>>>>>>>> diagnostic)
>>>>>>>>> //etc
>>>>>>>>> }
>>>>>>>>> The diagnostic, when turned on, will contain a trace
of the last N
>>>>>>>>> iterations leading up to the failure.  When turned off,
>>>>>>>>> Diagnostic
>>>>>>>>> instance only contains the parameters used to detect
failure. The
>>>>>>>>> diagnostic could be viewed as an indirect way to log
>>>>>>>>> iterations.
>>>>>>>>> WDYT?
>>>>>>>> I'm wary of having several different ways to convey information
>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>> caller.
>>>>>>> It would just be one way.
>>>>>> One way for optimizer, one way for solvers, one way for ...
>>>>> Yes I see what you mean, but I think on a whole it will be worth it to
>>>>> add additional sugar code that removes the need for exceptions.
>>>>>>> But the caller may not be the receiver
>>>>>>> (It could be).  The receiver would be an observer attached to
>>>>>>> OptimizationContext that implements an interface allowing it
>>>>>>> observe
>>>>>>> the optimization.
>>>>>> I'm afraid that it will add to the questions of what to put in the
>>>>>> code and how.  [We already had sometimes heated discussions just
>>>>>> the IMHO obvious (e.g. code formatting, documentation,
>>>>>> exception...).]
>>>>> Hehe.  Yes I remember some of these discussions.  I wonder how much
>>>>> time was spent debating the exceptions alone?  Surely everyone must
>>>>> have had this feeling in pit of their stomach that there's got to be
>>>>> better way.  On the exception topic, these are some of the issues:
>>>>> I18N
>>>>> ===================
>>>>> If you are new to commons math and thinking about designing a commons
>>>>> math compatible exception you should probably understand the I18N
>>>>> stuff that's bound to exception (and wonder why it's bound the the
>>>>> exception).
>>>> Not really true.
>>> Well a lot of things are gray.  Personally if I'm dealing with an API, I
>>> like to understand it, so that there are no surprises.  And I understand
>>> that the I18N coupling might not force me to use it, but if I want to be
>>> smart about my architecture, and simplify my design, then I should look
>>> at it.  Maybe it is a good idea.  Maybe I should just gloss over it?  Am
>>> I being sloppy if I just gloss over it?
>>> Or is there an alternative that provides the same functionality, or
>>> maybe something better, that does not come with any of these side
>>> effects?
>>>> The I18N was really simple at start.
>>> Yup I reviewed it and thought - it's probably no big deal - but as I
>>> started looking into reusing the CM exceptions, I decided that it was
>>> not worth the complexity.  I think that if I throw and exception it is
>>> my responsibility to make sure that whomever receives it has a very
>>> simple 0 minute or minimal resolution time for dealing with it, so that
>>> when the code is handed over the client feels confident.  It should work
>>> like a fridge.  We leave the door open too long, a bell goes off, we
>>> close the door.
>>>> See the one from
>>>> the Orekit project <>
>>>> which is
>>>> still in this state, and you will see adding a new message can be done
>>>> really
>>>> simply without a lot of stuff.
>>> Simple is a relative term.  But really simple is different from simple.
>>> Really simple would be the LevenbergMarquardtOptimizer in it's own
>>> module, separated from everything else, with a minimal set of
>>> dependencies.  If it's not this simple, then it quickly grows more
>>> complex as we scale.
>>>> I18N here is basically one method (getLocalizedString)
>>>> that is never changed in one enumerate class (OrekitMessages), and
>>>> adding a message
>>>> is only adding one entry to the enumerate, that's all.
>>> Sure and when a developer sees that one method, and they know how sharp
>>> the Apache people are (Sincerely), they start looking into reusing this
>>> design.  So if we are going to send them down that path, then that
>>> should be the best path.
>> CM is not intended to be a design pattern people should mimic. We are so
>> bad at this it would be a shame. No one in its right mind would copy
>> or reuse this stuff. It is for internal use only and we don't even have
>> the resources to manage it by ourselves so we can't consider it as a
>> path people should follow as we are leading them. Here we would be
>> leading them directly against the wall.
>>>> The huge pile we have now is only partly related to I18N.
>>> That's what I mean by scaling.  It's like the princess with the pea
>>> below the bottom mattress.  She keeps throwing mattresses on top, and
>>> the pea is still bothering her.  So after the 10th mattress, she decides
>>> they all have to come down until she can find out what's going on.  All
>>> 10 mattresses have to come back off.
>>>> The context stuff
>>>> was introduced as an attempt to solve some programmatic retrieval of
>>>> information
>>>> at catch time, not related to 18N.
>>> A callback would:
>>> - Provide the same context through a diagnostic
>>> - Decouple from I18N, but still provide the means to retrieve a message.
>>> - Be more tightly coupled to the root cause of the exception / error
>> Yes, but it would require user to take care of the return context and
>> to call it or to pass it above, for every single call. Exception
>> removes intermediate code, callback forces you to handle it by
>> yourself at all call levels, even where you don't want to handle it
>> but simply pass it above as the error management code lies.
>> And this is not only about bubbling the exception out as in providing
>> the data at upper level, which I agree could be done by some global
>> handler. It is *interrupting* the current course of operation that is
>> the tricky part. If you need to interrupt the run as fast as possible
>> when error is detected, either you let the JVM do it for you with
>> exception or you put if statements at each call site (either before the
>> call if you consider users should validate everything or after the
>> call if you don't). By the way, validating input is also not always
>> possible. Of course for the simple zero vector problem I used as an
>> example it is easy, but for slightly different cases it is not.
>> Predicting beforehand that input will generate an error, is the same
>> as the halting problem, which is undecidable (at least for Turing
>> machines). If you want, replace "create a rotation" by "solve a
>> quadratic equation". There, checking that there are no solution is
>> done by computing the discriminant, which is really what the solver
>> would do (if we had a quadratic solver in CM). Things go worth with
>> more complex algorithms, and at the end it appears that a blanket
>> statement saying "users should pre-validate input, thus ensuring
>> no error can occur" is not sustainable.
>>>> The huge hierarchy was introduced to
>>>> go in a direction were one exception = one type.
>>> That's what I was hoping would lead to `one type` equalling the precise
>>> root cause of the exception, but this is not true.  An exception can be
>>> reused in multiple places with multiple different root causes.
>>>> The ArgUtils was introduced
>>>> due to some Serialization issues. None of this is 18N.
>>> So if we look at this through the lens of:
>>> - Core developer productivity
>>> - API user productivity
>>> Are these helping?
>> No, they are not. Or rather they are not for me, but maybe other
>> people rely on them, I don't know. This is why I consider we are
>> wrong with our current design.
>>>> Yes our exception is crap. No I18N is not the only responsible.
>>> Honestly until I started reading NodeJS code (About six months ago) I
>>> was super happy with it, and thought that it was this way, because it's
>>> the only way, so that's what we get.  But now I think we can do much
>>> better.
>>>>> Grab a coffee and spend a few hours, unless you are
>>>>> obviously fairly new to Java like some ofthe people posting for help.
>>>>> In this case when the exception occurs, there is going to be a lot of
>>>>> tutoring going on on the users list.
>>>>> Number of Exceptions
>>>>> ===================
>>>>> Before you do actually design a new exception, you should probably see
>>>>> if there is an exception that already fits the category of what you
>>>> I don't agree.
>>> So you don't think someone should look to reuse an existing
>>> exception...because that would lead to a lot more new exceptions?
>> What I mean is that adding messages is not wrong by itself. They can
>> help users. Ensuring we never duplicate one message takes a lot of
>> developers time, which we don't have, and it does not help users.
>>>> The large list in the enumerate is only a list of
>>>> messages for user display.
>>> The exceptions are one thing and user display is another, and should we
>>> be mixing these?  On the one hand we are saying the CM is a low level
>>> library and that the developer should catch the exceptions, and instruct
>>> the client on how to handle them, and now we are saying that there are
>>> message for user display...
>> No, you are missing the consequences of the "low level" argument. Large
>> applications can use CM at low level, with some less low level code
>> called by intermediate code called by slighty higher level code, itself
>> used by high level code and so on. I don't say direct developers should
>> catch exception directly above CM, as exceptions should be really rare
>> and correspond to ... exceptional situations. This is often handle quite
>> high in the hierarchy for large applications that process large data and
>> should run really fast (I'll put a real life example below). So yes
>> exceptions are caught, but not immediately by the caller, it may be far
>> above and could even be at only one place in some cases, not at
>> thousands of call sites. At this place, yes, sometimes we simply display
>> the error because we don't know what to do. In some other cases, we
>> try to circumvent the problem not by dissecting the exception (so we
>> often don't even look at the embedded Exceptioncontext) but by switching
>> to something different. With exceptions, the intermediate level, which
>> is very important is much simpler. If you don't know how to react to
>> a zero vector at one place because you don't know why this vector is
>> zero, you just don't care, the exception will be automatically forwarded
>> above by the JVM and you will not even see it. You don't have to check
>> for the error just to interrupt yourself the program flow and
>> short-circuit to return immediately. The JVM does it for you. You care
>> about
>> the exception only at two places : where it is thrown (in CM) and where
>> the users know what to do (displaying, stopping or chosing an
>> alternative in the rare cases it is possible). There is no dedicated
>> code in between.
>>> And this is sort of a gray area, so I don't mean to nit pick it so much,
>>> but there's is a cleaner way to do this, that does not mix the user
>>> display concept with the exception / reporting of something different
>>> than a solution.
>> A cleaner way without forcing intermediate code to care about an
>> error it doesn't know what to do with? Even if the intermediate
>> code can only do "if (context.hasError()) return;" it is not clean
>> when multiplied by thousands of occurrences.
>>>> There would really be nothing wrong to add
>>>> even more messages,even if they are close to existing ones.
>>> What if they are exactly the same as the existing ones...because we were
>>> too lazy to scan?  And there's a simple programmatic solution to that,
>>> but do we really want this workflow?
>> Then we will have duplicates. It will cost a few bytes in memory. It
>> will save hours of scarce CM developers time.
>>>> In fact, I
>>>> even think we should avoid trying to reuse messages by merging them all
>>>> in something not meaningful to users (remember, messages are for
>>>> display
>>>> only). Currently we too often get a message like:
>>>>    Number is too large, 3 > 2
>>>> Nobody understands this at user level.
>>> If instead there's an Enum, tied to the corresponding class, that
>>> represents this condition at the line where it happens, then we can
>>> leave it up to the developer to craft a message that will serve the
>>> client best.
>> Sure. By the way, this is what we have: an enumerate called
>> LocalizedMessages. Call it MessageIdentifier if you prefer and remove
>> the formatting, it would be OK too. The only thing is that in addition
>> to th enumerate we also need some variable parts (like the numbers
>> involved, the dimensions and so on). So this is why we have the object[]
>> parts too. At the beginning this was all we had and it was
>> simple. Then we lost our minds and created a monstrous beast noone
>> can tame.
>>> And I'm not saying that there should not be messages.  Just that they
>>> should be isolated to a specific context, maintained within the
>>> parameters of that context, and looked up by a single unique key only.
>> Look at OrekitException, there is one OrekitMessages enumerate and one
>> Object[] parts. The Exceptioncontext is there too but only for
>> compatibility with CM when some OrekitExceptions link back to CM
>> exceptions. I would be happy to drop it.
>> And it if is not clear enough since the time, yes you could put the
>> I18N elsewhere if you want, as long as you have this two pieces of
>> information, the enumerate and the parts available. I think it could
>> remain there because it is simple, stable and does need attention
>> from developers, but if you insist I18N is evil, just drop it. Don't
>> throw the baby out with the bathwater.
>>> The reused message has lost its
>>>> signification. I would really prefer different messages for different
>>>> cases
>>>> where the fixed part of the format would at least provide some hint to
>>>> the
>>>> user.
>>> Yes I think we are saying the same thing here.
>> Fine.
>>>>> are doing.  So you start reading. Exception1...nop
>>>>> Exception2...nop...Exception3...Exception999..But I think I'm getting
>>>>> warmer.  OK - Did not find it ... but I'm fairly certain that there is
>>>>> a elegant place for it somewhere in the exception hierarchy...
>>>> I agree. The exception hierarchy is a mess.
>>> And in all fairness it seemed really elegant at first, and we all went
>>> with it.
>>>>> Handling of Exceptions
>>>>> ===================
>>>>> If our app uses several of the commons math classes (That throw
>>>>> exceptions of the same type), and one of those classes throws an
>>>>> exception,what is the app supposed to do?
>>>> It depends on the application.
>>> But it's possible to architect CM so that the case is that the developer
>>> is led down one road only.  And it's like a Hyperloop. They get in, and
>>> 7 minutes later, they are sipping a Mojito in Cancun :).
>>>> Apache Commons Math is a low level
>>>> library it is used in many different contexts and there is no single
>>>> answer.
>>> Unless there is.
>> An answer that requires all intermediate level to pass the error
>> above is not an answer to me.
>>>>> I think most developers would find that question somewhat challenging.
>>>>>   There are numerous strategies.  Catch all exceptions and log what
>>>>> happened, etc.  But what if the requirement is that if an exception is
>>>>> thrown, the organization that receives it has 0 seconds to get to the
>>>>> root cause of it and understand the dynamics. Is this doable? (Yes
>>>>> obviously, but how hard is it...?).
>>>> It is not Apache Commons Math level of decision.
>>> Not right now, but it could be.
>> We are not even capable of doing our own regular math job. Lets do
>> it before attempting to develop the desing pattern of the next century.
>>>> We provide the exception
>>>> and users can catch it fast. What users do with it is up to them.
>>> Sure.  That's how it works right now, but this is causing both more CM
>>> core developer overhead and API user overhead than there would be if
>>> exceptions are replaced with Enums and throwing exceptions is replaced
>>> with a callback.
>> A method is developed once in CM and called thousands time in users
>> code (several different users by the way). So we trade the development
>> time for three lines of code on our sides with the development time
>> of a few thousands lines of code on our users. It's not nice.
>>>>>>>> It seems that the reporting interfaces could quickly overwhelm
>>>>>>>> the "actual" code (one type of context per algorithm).
>>>>>>> There would one type of Observer interface per algorithm. It
>>>>>>> act on the solution and what are currently exceptions, although
>>>>>>> these
>>>>>>> would be translated into enums.
>>>>>> Unless I'm mistaken, the most common use-case for codes implemented
>>>>>> in a library such as CM is to provide a correct answer or bail out
>>>>>> in a non-equivocal way.
>>>>> Most java developers are used to synchronous the method
>>>>> get the response...catch the exception if needed.  This is changing
>>>>> with JDK8, and as we evolve and start using lambdas, we become more
>>>>> accustomed to the functional callback style of programming.
>>>>> Personally I want to be able to use an API that gives me what I need
>>>>> when everything works as expected, allows me to resolve unexpected
>>>>> issues with minimal effort, and is as simple, fluid, and lightweight
>>>>> as possible.
>>>>>> It would make the code more involved to handle a minority of
>>>>>> (undefined) cases. [Actual examples would be welcome in order to
>>>>>> focus the discussion.]
>>>>> Rough Outline (I've evolved the concept and moved away from the
>>>>> OptimizationContext in the process of writing):
>>>>> interface LevenbergMarquardtObserver {
>>>>>      public void hola(Solution s);
>>>>>      public void sugarHoneyIceTea(ResultType rt, Dianostics d);
>>>>> }
>>>>> public class LMObserver implements LevenbergMarquardtObserver {
>>>>>     private Application application;
>>>>>     public LMObserver(Application application) {
>>>>>         this.application = application;
>>>>>     }
>>>>>     public void hola(ResultType rt, Solution s) {
>>>>>        ;
>>>>>     }
>>>>>     public void sugarHoneyIceTea(ResultType rt, Diagnostic s)
>>>>>         if (rt == ResultType.I_GOT_THIS_ONE) {
>>>>>              //I looked at the commons unit tests for this algorithm
>>>>> evaluating
>>>>>              //the diagnostics that shows how this failure can occur
>>>>>              //I'm totally fixing this!  Steps aside!
>>>>>         }
>>>>>         else if (rt == ResultType.REALLY_COMPLICATED_STUFF)
>>>>>         {
>>>>>             //We need our best India.
>>>>>         }
>>>>>    )
>>>>> public class Application {
>>>>>      //Note nothing is returned.
>>>>>      LevenberMarquardtOptimizer.setOberver(new
>>>>> LMObserver(this)).setLeastSquaresProblem(new
>>>>> ClassThatImplementsTheProblem())).start();
>>>>>      public void next(Solution solution) {
>>>>>          //Do cool stuff.
>>>>>      }
>>>>> }
>>>>> Or an asynchronous variation:
>>>>> public class Application {
>>>>> //This call will not block because async is true
>>>>>      LevenberMarquardtOptimizer.setAsync(true).setOberver(new
>>>>> LMObserver()).setLeastSquaresProblem(new
>>>>> ClassThatImplementsTheProblem())).start();
>>>>>      //Do more stuff right away.
>>>>>      public void next(Solution solution) {
>>>>>          //When the thread running the optimization is done, this
>>>>> method is called back.
>>>>>          //Do whatever comes next
>>>>>      }
>>>>> }
>>>>> The above would start the optimization in a separate thread that does
>>>>> not / SHOULD NOT share data with the main thread.
>>>>>>>> The current reporting is based on exceptions, and assumes
>>>>>>>> if no
>>>>>>>> exception was thrown, then the user's request completed
>>>>>>>> successfully.
>>>>>>> Sure - personally I'd much rather deal with something similar
to an
>>>>>>> HTTP status code in a callback, than an exception .  I think
>>>>>>> code
>>>>>>> is cleaner and the calback makes it more elegant to apply an
>>>>>>> adaptive
>>>>>>> approach to handling the response, like slightly relaxing
>>>>>>> constraints,
>>>>>>> convergence parameters, etc.  Also by getting rid of the exceptions,
>>>>>>> we no longer depend on the I18N layer that they are tied to and
>>>>>>> the messages can be more informative, since they target the root
>>>>>>> cause.  The observer can also run in the 'main' thread' while
>>>>>>> optimization can run asynchronously.  Also WRT JDK9 and modules,
>>>>>>> loosing the exceptions would mean one less dependency when the
>>>>>>> library
>>>>>>> is up into JDK9 modules...which would be more in line with this
>>>>>>> philosophy:
>>>>>> I'm not sure I fully understood the philosophy from the text in this
>>>>>> short paragraph.
>>>>>> But I do not agree with the idea that the possibility to quickly
>>>>>> some code is more important than standards and best practices.
>>>>> If you go to and type in Neural Network you will get 56
>>>>> results all linked to github repositories.
>>>>> In addition there's meta data indicating number of downloads in the
>>>>> last day, last month, etc.  Try typing in cosine.  Odds are you will
>>>>> find a package that does just want you want and nothing else. This is
>>>>> very underwhelming and refreshing in terms of cloning off of github
>>>>> and getting familar with tests etc.  Also eye opening.  How many of us
>>>>> knew that we could do that much stuff with cosine! :).
>>>>>>>> I totally agree that in some circumstances, more information
on the
>>>>>>>> inner working of an algorithm would be quite useful.
>>>>>>> ... Algorithm iterations become unit testable.
>>>>>>>> But I don't see the point in devoting resources to reinvent
>>>>>>>> wheel:
>>>>>>> You mean pimping the wheel?  Big pimpin.
>>>>>> I think that logging statements are easy to add, not disruptive at
>>>>>> all,
>>>>>> and come in handy to understand a code's unexpected behaviour.
>>>>>> Assuming that a "logging" feature is useful, it can be added *now*
>>>>>> using
>>>>>> a dependency towards a weight-less (!) framework such as "slf4j".
>>>>>> IMO, it would be a waste of time to implement a new communication
>>>>>> layer
>>>>>> that can do that, and more, if it would be used for logging only
>>>>>> in 99%
>>>>>> of the cases.
>>>>> SLF4J is used by almost every other framework, so why not use it?
>>>>> Logging and the diagnostic could be used together.  The primary
>>>>> purpose of the diagnostic though is to collect data that will be
>>>>> useful in `sugarHoneyIceTea`.
>>>>>>>> I longed several times for the use of a logging library.
>>>>>>>> The only show-stopper has been the informal "no-dependency"
>>>>>>>> policy...
>>>>>>> JDK9 Jigsaw should solve dependency hell, so the less coupling
>>>>>>> between commons math classes the better.
>>>>>> I wouldn't call "coupling" the dependency towards exception classes:
>>>>>> they are little utilities that can make sense in various parts of
>>>>>> library.
>>>>> If for example the Simplex solver is broken off into it's own module,
>>>>> then it has to be coupled to the exceptions, unless it is exception
>>>>> free.
>>>>>> [Unless one wants to embark on yet another discussion about
>>>>>> exceptions;
>>>>>> whether there should be one class for each of the "messages" that
>>>>>> exist
>>>>>> in "LocalizedFormats"; whether localization should be done in CM;
>>>>>> etc.]
>>>>> I think it would be best to just eliminate the exceptions.
>>>> NO! A big no!
>>> Before the NO is that big, how about examining just a few simple cases
>>> where it's done?  You might come around to liking it.  Also it does not
>>> need to be a all or nothing.  Some modules could be exception free,
>>> whereas others, could throw exceptions because it might be the simplest
>>> thing to do and what people are used to.
>>>> Apache Commons Math is a very low level library. There are use cases
>>>> where you have huge code that relies on math almost everywhere.
>>> True dat. But it's quite possible that some of the math that is being
>>> used does not actually need to throw the exception.  There are multiple
>>> exception categories:
>>> - Exceptions thrown by invalid input parameters
>>> - Exceptions that signal that either something completely unexpected
>>> happened (Even we are like WTF?)
>>> - Exceptions that could happen in certain edge conditions that we
>>> understand and know how to deal with
>>> The first one we can eliminate by supplying a self validating object to
>>> the routine.  The next two are the ones that it might really be helpful
>>> they are communicated as Enums via a callback.
>>> It could be reviewed on a case by case basis, in the a process that
>>> considers moving to JDK9 modules.
>>>> Look at
>>>> the Orekit library for example. We use Vector3D everywhere, we use
>>>> Rotation
>>>> everywhere, we use ode in many places, we use some linear algebra,
>>>> we use
>>>> optimizers, we use a few statistics, we use root solvers, we use
>>>> derivatives,
>>>> we use BSP
>>> No problem just get rid of the 3D rotation, kill the Vector3D, forget
>>> statistics (Way too complicated!), and it's all good :). Kidding
>>> obviously, but this does highlight what I'm talking about. If there are
>>> tons of CM classes being utilities within a single method, and all of
>>> them can throw generic exceptions that cut across multiple classes, the
>>> developer has to decode the exception, causing her to waste time.
>>>> ... Some of these uses looks as large scale call/return pattern
>>>> where you could ask users to check the result afterwards, but many,
>>>> many of
>>>> the calls are much lower levels and you have literally several
>>>> thousands of
>>>> calls to math.
>>> That's all fine.  CM will still have the exact same workings - it will
>>> just be more efficient.
>>>> Just think about forcing user to check a vector can be normalized
>>>> (i.e. has not 0 norm) everywhere a vector is used. We would end up with
>>>> something like:
>>>>    Rotation r = new Rotation(a, alpha);
>>>>    if (!r.isValid()) {
>>>>      // a vector was null
>>>>      return error;
>>>>   }
>>> In this case the client developer could have made sure the vector was
>>> not null and valid prior to passing it to a routine.  It's possible that
>>> CM will be more lightweight, efficient, and friendly if API users are
>>> told that it's their responsibility to validate parameters.  So:
>>> RotationContext r = new RotationContext(a, alpha);
>>> if (!r.isValid()) {
>>>      // Dag Nab It!!!
>>> }
>>> else {
>>>     //Rotate away
>>>     Rotation rotation = new Rotation(rotationContext);
>>> }
>>> Or if we know that the parameters are valid (Mass validation):
>>> Rotation rotation = new Rotation(a, alpha);
>>>> Repeat the above 4325 times in your code ... welcome back to the 80's.
>>> We only have to repeat the validation check 4325 times if there is
>>> actually a possibility that the vector is invalid.
>> You didn't get what I meant. Exceptions are for, well exceptional cases.
>> These cases are often not predictable and are buried in highly
>> complex algorithms. So you cannot know for sure you will not have a
>> zero vector there. This vector itself is computed from another complex
>> algorithm, itself fed by other complex algorithms and so on. There are
>> no clear lines : here vectors are known to be valid and here they are
>> unknown and should be checked by users beforehand because CM will never
>> tell the user something bad occurs when it occurs. Shit happens and
>> we need to help users, not tell them " we have warned you, you are
>> a bad guy because you did not check your data, but we are good guys
>> despite we did not tell you when we saw the bad data, your fault".
>> You cannot ask users to cripple there code with neither a posteriori
>> error checking nor a priori validation at *all* call sites for
>> exceptional conditions that occur once every million call. And yes, one
>> problem every million call is a big problem when you handle huge data.
>> A recent project I worked on was link to the Sentinel 2 Earth
>> observation satellite. It generates terabytes of data and every single
>> pixel computation needs a lot of geometric transforms (and rotations
>> and others). For now we have:
>>   Rotation r = new Rotation(a, alpha)
>> or similar things for dot products, interpolators, solvers, optimizers
>> and so on in highly critical code that needs to run very very fast.
>> Somewhere above (really lots of layers above), we catch exceptions when
>> they occur, very rarely (say once every few tens millions pixels, i.e.
>> a few times each second or minute) and simply try another much slower
>> algorithm for this single pixel, then come back to the regular fast
>> algorithm for the next few hundreds millions pixels that are waiting to
>> be processed. Basically exceptions allow us to break out of the deep
>> layers of algorithms immediately. Continuous pre or post checkings at
>> every call sites is impractical and would be much slower. This is akin
>> to malloc/free versus garbage collecting.
>> So after all this long mail is centered about one idea:
>>   Exceptions allow automatic code rerouting without user handling
>>   at lots and lots of intermediate levels. Callbacks (or pre-validation
>>   which is not always possible) force user handling at all intermediate
>>   levels.
>> best regards,
>> Luc
>>>> Exceptions are meant for, well, exceptional situations.
>>> These are exceptional times :)
>>>> They avoid people
>>>> to cripple the calling code with if(error) statements.
>>> We need if(error) at some point.  I agree that if(error) should be
>>> minimized.
>>>> They ensure (and this
>>>> is the most important part) that as soon as the error is detected at
>>>> very
>>>> low level it will be identified and reported back to the upper level
>>>> where
>>>> it is caught and displayed, without forcing *all* the intermediate
>>>> levels
>>>> to handle it.
>>> Yes but this causes the "Root cause analysis deciphering effect" I've
>>> been talking about.
>>>> When you have complex code with complex algorithms and several
>>>> nested levels of calls in different libraries, maintained by different
>>>> teams
>>>> and usings tens of thousands calls to math, you don't want a
>>>> call/return/check error
>>>> type of programming like we used to do in the 80's.
>>> Ahh the Commodore 64 days...I miss those days...Anyways - no one wants
>>> to be hung up on some clown from the 80s.  Right now we are hung up on a
>>> clown from the 90s though!  We need a Kim Kardashian API. :)
>>> Cheers,
>>> - Ole
>>>> best regards,
>>>> Luc
>>>>>>> Anyways I'm obviously
>>>>>>> interested in playing with this stuff, so when I get something
>>>>>>> into
>>>>>>> a repository I'll to do a callback :).
>>>>>> If you are interested in big overhauls, there is one that gathered
>>>>>> relative consensus: rewrite the algorithms in a
>>>>>> "multithread-friendly"
>>>>>> way.
>>>>> I think that's a tall order that will take us into JDK88 :). But
>>>>> using callbacks and making potentially long running computations
>>>>> asynchronous could be a middle ground that would allow simple multi
>>>>> threaded use without fiddling around under the hood...
>>>>>> Some ideas were floated (cf. ML archive) but no implementation or
>>>>>> experiment...  Perhaps with a well-defined goal such as performance
>>>>>> improvement, your design suggestions will become clearer to more
>>>>>> people.
>>>>>> AFAIK, only the classes in the "o.a.c.m.neuralnet" package are
>>>>>> currently
>>>>>> ready to be used with the "java.util.concurrent" framework.
>>>>> FWIU Neural Nets are a great fit for concurrency.  I think for the
>>>>> others we will end up having discussions around how users would
>>>>> control the number of threads, etc. again that makes some of us
>>>>> nervous.  An asynchronous operation that runs in one separate thread
>>>>> is easier to reason about.  If we want to test 10 neural net
>>>>> configurations, and we have 10 cores, then we can start each by itself
>>>>> by doing something like:
>>>>> Nework.setAsync(true).addNeurons().connectNeurons().addObserver(observer).start().
>>>>> //Now do 10 more
>>>>> //If the observer is shared then notifications should be thread safe.
>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>> - Ole
>>>>> P.S. Dang that was a long email.  If I write one more of these, ban
>>>>> me :)
>>>>>> Best regards,
>>>>>> Gilles
>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>> Ole
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