## digitalmars.D - Built-in array ops

• bearophile (78/78) Jul 25 2012 This is useful Mathlab code (from Expokit, it's part of code to
```This is useful Mathlab code (from Expokit, it's part of code to
compute exponents of sparse matrices coming from Markov chains):
http://www.maths.uq.edu.au/expokit/matlab/mexpv.m

It's related to this Fortran code:
http://www.maths.uq.edu.au/expokit/fortran/dmexpv.f

If I have to write minimally serious D code to implement
something similar to that Mathlab or Fortran code, like this:

while t_now < t_out
istep = istep + 1;
t_step = min( t_out-t_now,t_new );
V = zeros(n,m+1);
H = zeros(m+2,m+2);

V(:,1) = (1/beta)*w;
for j = 1:m
p = A*V(:,j);
for i = 1:j
H(i,j) = V(:,i)'*p;
p = p-H(i,j)*V(:,i);
end;
s = norm(p);
if s < btol,
k1 = 0;
mb = j;
t_step = t_out-t_now;
break;
end;
H(j+1,j) = s;
V(:,j+1) = (1/s)*p;
end;
if k1 ~= 0,
H(m+2,m+1) = 1;
avnorm = norm(A*V(:,m+1));
end;

I use a library that implements efficient rectangular and sparse
matrices and some useful functions like zeros() and more, so the
Mathlab code like this:

p = p-H(i,j)*V(:,i);

becomes (assuming Don's proposal to introduce multiple
user-defined dollars):

p -= H(i, j) * V(0..\$, i);

replacing ":" with "0..\$" introduces more noise but it's probably
acceptable. In such code I use only such library-defined data
structures, so built-in array ops are never used.

Maybe you want to use built-in array ops in casual D code, that
doesn't want to import a whole good matrix library, but in
practice so far in my D2 code I have needed vector ops only quite
rarely (while I have several time desired a sparse matrix
library, for simulations and more).

In well known C++ libraries templates are used in complex ways to
remove the creation of intermediate arrays in long vectorized
expressions. D built-in vector ops are able to do that, but when
performance is important I am probably already using a
matrix/vector library (also for flexibility, because it supports
sparse arrays, disk-mapped very large tensors, and so on). I
don't remember people using those template metaprogramming tricks
in D.

While I like built-in array ops, what are their use cases to
justify their presence in the language? Has someone used them a
lot so far? Is deprecating them going to damage future D in some
way?

Isn't it better to introduce in D syntax (like the multiple \$
from Don) that allows future D programmers to implement highly
efficient matrix libraries with a clean syntax for the final
user? "Highly efficient" may mean offer built-in ways to avoid
the creation of intermediate library-defined arrays in complex
expressions, and maybe it also means offering built-in ways to
help the management of the hierarchical nature of the memory of
future computing systems, as done in Chapel language.

This is one case where I agree with Andrei that giving language
tools to build good libraries is probably better than putting
things in the language itself. As example I think that built-in
tuples are 200 times more useful/handy than built-in vector ops,
despite I write mixed scientific D2 code that is using arrays a
lot. Also, currently D vector ops are in many cases less
efficient than normal loops, for all but the largest 1D dense
arrays.

Bye,
bearophile
```
Jul 25 2012