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From Gilles <>
Subject Re: apache, commons, math
Date Sat, 18 Jun 2016 18:39:08 GMT
Hi Eric.

Thanks for a refreshing viewpoint!


On Sat, 18 Jun 2016 20:22:24 +0200, Eric Barnhill wrote:
> I am new to protocols here and not sure which thread to jump on. But 
> I am
> quite interested in the viability of the math project and hope the
> following observation is helpful.
> I think one reason people are talking past each other in this debate 
> is
> because those outside the commons-math community may be thinking more 
> about
> commons-math classes like Median and those within it may be more 
> concerned
> with commons-math classes like AkimaSplineInterpolator.
> In the case of Median, the fit to the commons mission is quite clear. 
> It's
> a simple function that is widely needed and used but not in the Java 
> API.
> Commons as a whole is strengthened by classes like Median, and 
> commons-math
> is strengthened by being in the commons framework. And Median, 
> probably any
> of us could maintain.
> But a class like AkimaSplineInterpolator is a different matter. In 
> that
> case the fit with the commons mission is less clear.  And in the case 
> of
> classes like AkimaSplineInterpolator, Gilles is right. It doesn't 
> make
> sense to carry a method like that forward to the next version of a 
> package,
> if there is no one around who even knows what an Akima spline is, let 
> alone
> can defend the methodology in the library or its accuracy.  One can't 
> have
> a credible library for scientific computing if it contains methods, 
> for
> which no present maintainer can guarantee the accuracy or 
> effectiveness. In
> such case, such a class should probably be mothballed in the next 
> release,
> or spun off to be maintained by someone who knows what they are 
> doing. (I
> have offered to maintain the interpolators BTW.)
> So I actually see Gilles' proposal for spin-off packages as solving a
> fundamental dischord in the way commons-math is set up. At the risk 
> of
> adding yet another proposal to the mix, what about deciding which of 
> the
> Math classes suit the commons mission, and are of fairly wide 
> currency such
> that developers from other packages in commons who have offered their 
> help
> could probably maintain them just as easily. This makes for a core 
> CM. Then
> for the rich array of more sophisticated classes that prompted calls 
> for a
> TLP math in the first place -- I can certainly understand the impulse 
> --
> only one of two possibilities exists. Either a new community needs to 
> be
> built through incubator, or the classes with current support need to 
> be
> spun off, and new releases of those classes overseen by people who
> understand them and want to manage them.
> Gilles feels a trip through the incubator is unlikely to bring new
> mathematicians into the fold who want to maintain an omnibus math 
> package.
> His instinct here aligns with what I've seen empirically over the 
> last few
> months -- myself, Artem, syenkoc all have our particular agendas and 
> niches
> of interest that we want to maintain. Gilles says it was ever thus, 
> and I
> see no reason to doubt his knowledge of the history.
> So if the days of a core of several omnibus maintainers are over, we 
> should
> go with the other logical plan which is to spin off the fancier
> interpolators, solvers, etc. -- classes that exceed the commons 
> mission --
> into classes that have someone who understands them and wants to 
> support
> then, and classes which get mothballed for 4.0 . I think this makes a 
> lot
> of sense.
>  I would only add that I think that all the math-related classes, as 
> well
> as all of commons, benefits from some sort of commons-math core 
> classes
> that we are sure belong in commons. And then there is no more debate 
> about
> whether someone is trying to destroy commons-math, which quickly 
> becomes
> acrimonious. I think this is a partitioning we could all achieve. We 
> can
> vote on every math package if you like!
> Eric

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