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Updates and Promises

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Yes, it has been quiet here but development on Math::GSL has steadily continued behind-the-scenes. I just pushed a dev release (0.15_04) to CPAN, it should be hitting a mirror near you soon. If the CPANTesters don't find anything horribly wrong with it, it will probably become 0.16. Some new features of 0.16 will be:

  • New subsytems: VectorComplex and MatrixComplex
  • Operator overloading for addition and subtraction with vectors
  • Added example: examples/matrix/nonsymmetric_eigen
        Shows how to find the eigenvalues of a nonsymmetric matrix
  • Added copy() method to vectors
  •  Improved Vector docs
  • Sped up vector dot products by 15x using BLAS function gsl_blas_ddot
        NOTE: using gsl_blas_ddot($x->raw,$y->raw) directly is still about 10 times faster 
              than $x * $y due to error checking and function call overhead
  • Separated POD and Perl code out of SWIG interface files, yay for proper syntax highlighting
  • Added stub test files for Heapsort, IEEEUtils, Multimin, Siman, Wavelet2D
  • All test files now keep track of how many tests should run and other important infrastructure changes

Only a few of the changes are user-facing but they are important in terms of the long-term development and health of Math::GSL. 

While I have been making these back-end changes I have been prototyping a web-based interface to Math::GSL using jQuery. I have many functional parts but no coherent interface that I am willing to inflict on users. But I promise you that soon you will be able to use Math::GSL via your browser and bypass the whole "what-do-you-mean-i-have-to-compile-it" issue. 

Post-Mentor-Summit Wrap Up

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I took a bit of a break after releasing Math::GSL 0.14 and tried not to stare at a screen too much  during the GSOC08 conference, when I could be interacting with open source developers from around the world IRL. I met developers from Git, Xmms2, VLC, PHP, Zikula, OpenAFS, Boost, Jikes RVM, Squeak, MusicBrainz, Worldforge, Minix3, the list goes on. People shared many ideas about making sustainable open source projects, getting and keeping members in your community and dealing with "troublesome" members.  Daniel Svensson from Xmms2 also showed me some git-fu relating to rebasing.

But that doesn't mean that Math::GSL development has come to a halt! Since 0.14 Thierry added operator overloading for addition in Vector. This sparked my interest and I then did subtraction. The current code will vectorize operations that you learn "don't make sense" in grade school, such as: $v - 5 , where v is a vector. Math::GSL will go ahead and subtract 5 from every element in $v. You can also do 2 + $v and you will get a new vector where 2 has been added to each element of $v.

Also, I reorganized the directory structure so that all SWIG interface files are now in the swig/ subdirectory, instead of clogging up the root directory. All SWIG-generated XS code and object files are thrown in there as well. This should make the Math::GSL codebase easier to navigate. 

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