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New variable type: matrix

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Baris Sumengen
August 24, 2000 22:10
New variable type: matrix
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I am little bit confused and probably very ignorant but one thing seems to
me very useful. Why doesn't perl support a new data type matrix. If perl
wants to become a real "programming language" not just a scripting language
it should support number crunching internally in a more intuitive way. I
don't know if this is suggested before but until now the messages I read
mentioned only making perl arrays consistant with pdl arrays.

Instead of trying to apply the syntax of perl arrays and variables, why not
just have new type such as matrix internally supported by perl and have a
new prefix for it such as ^ (I guess most of the good ones are taken). So
instead of confusing ourself with $matrix, we can have ^matrix and it is
more readable. 

I know that Larry Wall and most other people who worked on designing perl
didn't have the need of multidimensional matrices and they didn't add this
to perl  that time and they didn't try to optimize it as in the case of
regular expressions. But many people in the academia work on number
crunching and they use matlab or similar solutions for high level and C for
low level. Recently there is great interest for the functional languages
such as ML and Haskell also (I am not familiar with them though). This
people think that perl is very inefficient for number crunching since they
think in terms of perl arrays not pdl arrays. But pdl arrays doesn't exist
in my default perl installation??? Why would I try to discover them?

I know most people here are more knowledgable than me and probably thought
about this before. My feeling is that most perl users were coming from
system admin and text processing background (which perl is written for),
and the rest of the programmers end up thinking that perl is not good
enough for number crunching and they don't even bother with it. If my
default installation doesn't have some functionality like PDL how would you
convince me easily that perl would be useful for my programming needs. 
So make things easy (to install, to use, to implement).

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