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Re: execution speed in *oct files

From: David Doolin
Subject: Re: execution speed in *oct files
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 01:11:22 -0400

>> I'm assuming that these translations are done at least partly, if not
>> completely, by hand, so if someone does make a bug fix or release a
>> new version of any of these packages (although relatively infrequent,
>> it does happen -- daspk is a newer version of dassl, for example) then
>> you have to work the fixes back into your translated version instead
>> of just updating the Fortran sources.  To me, that seems like a lot of
>> unnecessary work and also maybe asking for some trouble.
>Another issue in this matter is credibility. When Octave uses these
>classics, like QUADPACK and so on, we know that they work. Or at least
>we have a big confidence in them because they are on Netlib, because 
>everybody uses them, etc. If you start translating (and thus changing) 
>the orginal code, confidence drops to a low level. At least in my case :-)

This thread is probably already way off topic, but the following 
might be interesting to some.

I cannot speak for the gnu project but 
anyone serious enough to undertake a project as large should 
be serious enough to write an automatic translator.  Thus 
was born p2c (TeX), f2c (various stuff) and f2j (lapack).
Packages large enough to require this effort should normally 
be distributed with test suites for verifying the accuracy 
of the compiled code.  So the translation is not just the library,
it must include the test suite as well (which may be a more 
difficult problem than relatively simple numerical procedures).
This partly mitigates problems with code confidence.

Dave D

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