Saturday, May 24, 2008

First post

Hi all,

I'm starting this blog to document my progress with my Google Summer of Code (GSoC) project for 2008. The aim of the project is to improve SymPy's high-precision numerics. This work will build upon my existing library mpmath, which is already included as a third-party package in SymPy. My first goal will be to make sure the SymPy-mpmath integration works correctly (this is presently not the case at all), and after that I will implement improved algorithms to make numerical evaluation faster and more reliable, as well as entirely new numerical functions (several people have for example expressed interest in doing linear algebra with mpmath, so that area will certainly get some attention). My mentor is Ondrej Certik.

The GSoC coding period officially starts on May 26. I unfortunately have an exam on May 28 and a thesis presentation on June 2 and 3, so I won't be coding full time during the first week. In any case, I have already started poking at some things. I will post a GSoC status update roughly once a week.

It's unfortunate that Saroj's GSoC project for SymPy was withdrawn. SymPy would benefit greatly from improved plotting, and a LaTeX renderer would be useful as well. With some luck, I will be able to spend some time on the plotting; I have some old interactive 2D plotting code lying around, which could be quite usable if converted from pygame to pyglet and with some general cleanup. (Try it out if you like: -curvedemo shows some standard x-y function plots; -complexdemo plots the Mandelbrot set. Mouse zooms, arrow keys pan, and keys 1-8 select detail level for the Mandelbrot set.)

I suppose it would be more relevant to show a screenshot of some complicated mathematical expression being converted to a decimal number in a Python shell, but fractals always catch people's attention. Expect more cheap tricks in the future!