[Haskell-cafe] Numerical methods in Haskell

Simon Peyton-Jones simonpj at microsoft.com
Fri Feb 10 04:04:58 EST 2006

| Between google searching and looking through the activity
| report, I take it that no one has really developed serious
| libraries for matrix manipulations, diff eqs, etc.
| Are there any practical reasons for this or is it just a
| matter of the haskell community being small and there not
| being many people interested in something so specialized?

The latter I think, but it's just the sort of thing that a functional
language should be good at.  Two other difficulties

(a) It's hard to compete with existing libraries.  The obvious thing is
not to compete; instead, just call them.  But somehow that doesn't seem
to be as motivating.  Perhaps some bindings exist though?

(b) A concern about efficiency, because numerical computation is
typically an area where people really care about how many instructions
you take.  It's a legitimate concern, but I don't think that it'll turn
out to be justified.  With unboxed arrays, and/or calling external
libraries for the inner loops -- and the potential for aggressive fusion
and/or parallelism, there is plenty of upward potential.  I also want to
work on nested data parallelism (a la NESL, and NEPAL) which fits right
in here.

I'd love to see a little community of matrix manipulators spinning up.  


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