15.5 The Numeric Package

The main module in the Numeric package is the Numeric module, which provides the array object type, a set of functions that manipulate these objects, and universal functions that operate on arrays and other sequences. The Numeric package also supports a variety of optional modules for things like linear algebra, random numbers, masked arrays, and Fast Fourier Transforms.

Numeric is one of the rare Python packages often used with the idiom from Numeric import *. You can also use import Numeric and qualify each name by preceding it with Numeric. However, if you need many of the package's names, importing all the names at once is handy. Another popular alternative is to import Numeric with a shorter name (e.g., import Numeric as N) and qualify each name by preceding it with N.

Although quite solid and stable, Numeric is under continuous development, with functionality being added and limitations removed. This chapter describes specifically Numeric Version 21.3, the latest released version at the time of this writing. A successor to Numeric, named numarray, is being developed by the Numeric community, and is not quite ready for production use yet. numarray is not totally compatible with Numeric, but shares most of Numeric's functionality and enriches it further. Information on numarray is available at http://stsdas.stsci.edu/numarray/.

    Part III: Python Library and Extension Modules