[swift-evolution] TrigonometricFloatingPoint/MathFloatingPoint protocol?

Nicolas Fezans nicolas.fezans at gmail.com
Wed Aug 2 17:37:19 CDT 2017

I think that the items mentioned earlier in the list (just reminded below)
should not all be treated equally.

- RNG and cryptography library (CryptoSwift could be a good base for this)
- Generic Math library/Vector library
- Basic data structures (Tree, Balanced Tree, Heap, Queue, SkipList,
graphs, etc)
- Modern DateTime library
- Modern String processing toolkit
- 2D Graphics library (similar to cairo)
- Windowing/UI library

By that I mean that I see at least one distinction to make between:

a) the libraries that would make Swift and the programmer experience with
these libraries under Swift significantly better if they are (or at least
feel) deeply integrated in the language (for instance with associated syntax
/ syntax sugar)
b) those that would not really benefit from such an integration to the

For me a core math library, clearly belongs to category a)
I am of course not talking about a syntax sugar to call a sin or cos
function, but rather to manipulate other objects such as N-dimensional
matrices, defining maths functions that can take such matrices as argument
e.g. sin(A) with A as matrix produces a matrix of the same size where all
elements are the sinus values of the elements of A (sorry but things like
this calling map() with 'sin' looks quite ugly for scientists).
Such a good math syntax should be compact enough to have complete equations
looking "close enough" to the maths equations you could have written in a
LaTeX or Word documentation of your scientific code. IMO a well integrated
swift core math library should feel a Julia or Matlab code (while still
having the power of Swift in terms of speed and modern programming
paradigms) instead of looking and feeling like 'numpy'. But the latter is
what you get if you just make a math library with no integration to the
language syntax, operators, and basic functions.

I would personally place a crypto library in category b).

For basic data structures, I would say probably something in between: maybe
a few data structures are worth having a nicer syntax that typical method
calls (just as [] are used for arrays and it looks and feels great) but it
would be pointless IMHO to try extending that to too many of these data

On Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 11:08 PM, Xiaodi Wu via swift-evolution <
swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 12:23 PM, Taylor Swift <kelvin13ma at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> On Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 12:45 PM, Gor Gyolchanyan <
>> gor.f.gyolchanyan at icloud.com> wrote:
>>> On Aug 2, 2017, at 4:35 AM, Xiaodi Wu via swift-evolution <
>>> swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>>> On Tue, Aug 1, 2017 at 7:38 PM, Taylor Swift <kelvin13ma at gmail.com> w
>>> rote:
>>>> On Tue, Aug 1, 2017 at 5:50 PM, Xiaodi Wu <xiaodi.wu at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> On Tue, Aug 1, 2017 at 13:00 Taylor Swift via swift-evolution <
>>>>> swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>>>>>> On Tue, Aug 1, 2017 at 1:51 PM, Michael Ilseman via swift-evolution <
>>>>>> swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>>>>>>> On Aug 1, 2017, at 10:44 AM, Tino Heth via swift-evolution <
>>>>>>> swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>>>>>>> So, this has been discussed before on the list many times in the
>>>>>>> past. The core team has stated that their preferred process for this is to
>>>>>>> have individuals write their own libraries, get real-world adoption, then
>>>>>>> (as consensus emerges) propose their inclusion as a core library.
>>>>>>> I already opened a new mail to write my answer, but than I thought
>>>>>>> "wait, scroll down, and look if Xiaodi did already post links" ;-)
>>>>>>> [But where have those potential core libraries been mentioned?]
>>>>>>> Anyways, my perception hasn't change much:
>>>>>>> I think it would be enough if someone from Apple would say "here's
>>>>>>> an empty github-repo called [math/statistics/algebra/crypt
>>>>>>> o/graphic/image/audio/music/video/smtp/http…]; feel free to fork
>>>>>>> and create pull requests" and adding some democratic mechanism for
>>>>>>> acceptance on top of it.
>>>>>>> What would be your compatibility and stability expectations of such
>>>>>>> APIs? If there are any expectations, then the APIs would need careful
>>>>>>> design and thought. The Swift project faces a lot of design bandwidth
>>>>>>> limitations, so prioritize is always tricky.
>>>>>> The point of spinning off separate core library working groups would
>>>>>> be so that library feature requests and proposals can stop clogging up
>>>>>> swift-evolution. Then the swift-evolution core team could focus on the
>>>>>> compiler and the standard library and the community would take stewardship
>>>>>> of the core libraries through separate channels.
>>>>> My understanding is that the server working group, and all such work
>>>>> groups, will be presenting their proposals here for approval, and that all
>>>>> API changes in the Swift open source project go through this list.
>>>> That sounds like it would spam the general list a lot?
>>> On the contrary, core team members have confirmed that working proposals
>>> such as those are the principal intended use for this list; it is *not*
>>> meant to be a general forum for musings about Swift language design.
>>> My rule of thumb was that any post on the mailing list that I make has
>>> to be aimed at providing a solution to a problem, or at the very least,
>>> seeking help in providing a solution to a problem. If the discussion has no
>>> definitive actionable outcome, then I consider it pointless.
>> At the same time, people should be able to float ideas here to see how
>> well they would be received before investing the energy into writing up a
>> proposal. I certainly wouldn’t spend time drafting up an entire API spec
>> for a math library without first checking that this is something that the
>> community actually wants.
> I would mostly agree with that statement, except for the word "here."
> Swift Evolution clearly isn't representative of the community of Swift
> users generally; there are Slack channels, Reddit groups, and other forums
> which are intended to be a place for general discussion, and which would
> probably get you a good sense of what users want. I definitely agree with
> Gor that the "actionable outcome" rule of thumb is a pretty good guideline
> for what's most effective on this mailing list.
> The other point I'd make here is that I definitely think the core team is
> right about encouraging any "entire API spec" for a math library to be
> based on implementation experience from actually writing a math library
> that has seen good adoption. Essentially, what they're saying is that any
> proposed design here should have already proved itself in the field. I
> assume that you are well aware of Conway's law, which afaict has good
> evidence to back it up; with that in mind, the end product that emerges
> from a draft spec and an empty open-source repo is unlikely to be
> satisfactory, let alone optimal.
> _______________________________________________
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> swift-evolution at swift.org
> https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution
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