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Using OpenBLAS for Octave.app

From: Andrew Janke
Subject: Using OpenBLAS for Octave.app
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2019 15:05:58 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.14; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/60.9.0

Hi, Octave maintainers,

Currently, Octave.app (the "native" Mac app distribution of GNU Octave that Sebastian and I run, http://octave-app.org/) uses Apple Accelerate for its BLAS and LAPACK implementations. This is mostly because Octave.app is built on Homebrew, and Homebrew prefers to use Apple system-provided libraries wherever feasible.

We're thinking of switching over to use OpenBLAS instead. (https://github.com/octave-app/octave-app/issues/118) My thinking is this:

Advantages to using OpenBLAS:

1. Academic and scientific audiences may prefer OpenBLAS, since the ethos of reproducible research demands open software throughout the stack. 2. Would make Octave behavior more consistent between platforms, since Linux and Windows Octave users are already using OpenBLAS, and this would make our Mac Octave match their behavior a. Would help with testing, since now the Linux/Windows and Mac native app Octave user bases would be using & testing the same underlying library.
  b. Would fix a couple annoying test failures on Mac.

Advantages to using Accelerate:

1. Somewhat simpler build process
2. Consistent with Homebrew, which is a big install base
3. ???

I think the arguments for OpenBLAS here really outweigh the arguments for Accelerate. (And maybe we could even talk core Homebrew into switching over.)

Do any of y'all have opinions on this? Especially from someone who actually knows about BLAS and scientific/research programming?

Is there an official core Octave position on which BLAS implementation(s) are preferred for use with Octave?


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