Scope of NumPy#
Here, we describe aspects of N-d array computation that are within scope for NumPy development. This is not an aspirational definition of where NumPy should aim, but instead captures the status quo—areas which we have decided to continue supporting, at least for the time being.
In-memory, N-dimensional, homogeneously typed (single pointer + strided) arrays on CPUs
Support for a wide range of data types
Not specialized hardware such as GPUs
But, do support wide range of CPUs (e.g. ARM, PowerX)
Higher level APIs for N-dimensional arrays
NumPy is a de facto standard for array APIs in Python
Indexing and fast iteration over elements (ufunc)
Interoperability protocols with other data container implementations (like __array_ufunc__ and __array_function__.
Python API and a C API to the ndarray’s methods and attributes.
Other specialized types or uses of N-dimensional arrays:
Structured arrays (informally known as record arrays)
Memory mapped arrays
Historically, NumPy has included the following basic functionality in support of scientific computation. We intend to keep supporting (but not to expand) what is currently included:
Fast Fourier transforms and windowing
Pseudo-random number generators
NumPy provides some infrastructure for other packages in the scientific Python ecosystem:
numpy.distutils (build support for C++, Fortran, BLAS/LAPACK, and other relevant libraries for scientific computing)
f2py (generating bindings for Fortran code)
Speed: we take performance concerns seriously and aim to execute operations on large arrays with similar performance as native C code. That said, where conflict arises, maintenance and portability take precedence over performance. We aim to prevent regressions where possible (e.g., through asv).