Wednesday, November 10, 2010

PPUG 2010.11.10

For those readers unfamiliar: PPUG = Portland Python User's Group. If you word search on my three blogs (worldgame, controlroom, mybizmo), you'll find plenty of prior write-ups.

So tonight was our last gathering at WebTrends, at the top of a Portland skyscrapter adjacent to Pioneer Courthouse Square, a prime location. Next meeting: Urban Airship, their new digs in NW. Looking forward.

Wow, tonight was esoteric, about extending Python in multiple directions.

Ctypes is a great module for importing a DLL or Unix/Linux so (shared object) and using it directly. I asked if this'd work with COM. Not sure. Anyway, it's cool.

Did you wonder about extending Python with FORTRAN? That's a whole cult. FORTRAN has hardly gone out of style, even if the punch cards are no longer (lots of chuckles). f2py is truly awesome. Wrap your FORTRAN compiled object with C, and import it into your Python scripts. NumPy is of this genre.

Then we learned about GMPY and GMPY2, the extended precision modules. Such awesome tricks. Mutable integers? Amazing. Extend precision to 1000 bits (or more), and ask about pi. There it is, to many decimals. Impressive.

The most esoteric talk: extending Python with OCAML. It's that C-language bridge that eats up cycles, translating data types from this language to that. If you really wanna multiply two 100 x 100 matrices in the shortest time, consider NumPy (back to FORTRAN). Ocaml is cool though, no question. Brilliant talk.

IronPython is dead they tell me, wow. Seems like Microsoft really missed the boat then. I'll have to think about that one.

Good conversation with Jason, about women in computer science. I say they own it. Not the majority (male) view.

Thanks again Michelle. You're a great leader and a lovely individual.