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From "Gilles (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] [Commented] (MATH-1170) Add more in-place operations to RealMatrix and RealVector
Date Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:41:33 GMT


Gilles commented on MATH-1170:

There has been numerous discussions about how to improve the matrix API:

It should also be taken into account that the current interface requires the implementation
of _many_ methods; this has been raised as a problem for some usage.  Adding more methods
would make it worse (and less likely that alternate implementations are going to be worked
on, as the current situation shows).
But you are of course right that in-place operations could be better in some circumstances
(e.g. very large matrices)...
In others, developers might prefer the less "dangerous" approach.

You are welcome to revive the discussion on the "dev" ML.

> Add more in-place operations to RealMatrix and RealVector
> ---------------------------------------------------------
>                 Key: MATH-1170
>                 URL:
>             Project: Commons Math
>          Issue Type: Wish
>            Reporter: Brian
>            Priority: Minor
> It would be nice if for some methods of RealMatrix and RealVector there were in-place
versions of the methods - that would use the existing structures rather than creating new
ones.  In some situations it might be more efficient to use the same vector instead of creating
many temporary ones each time which then have to be garbage collected, so it would be nice
to provide the option.
> An example of a method that could benefit from in-place versions:  RealVector.add.  
> There was also a question on stack overflow about this for matrix operations:
> There is also a lot of precedents for this kind of behavior, in other languages.
> In other languages, this is sometimes handled behind the scenes - when a self-assignment
is found, a new variable is not created - in order to improve performance.  E.g., some functional
languages perform such optimizations behind the scenes, and it is used in MATLAB:
> In some ways directly providing the option for in-place operations is preferable because
then we could control when it is applied.  It could be used where appropriate within the internals
of other methods as well.
> Similarly there is also a convention in Ruby to have a special version of a method, marked
with an exclamation point to indicate it is "dangerous" - usually meaning it changes its input
- so-called "bang methods".  Many of these are built into the core Ruby, e.g., sort/sort!
for arrays, upcase/upcase!, chomp/chomp!, and reverse/reverse! for strings.  

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