Saturday, May 3, 2008

Bye Matlab, Hello Python, Thanks Sage

Vincent Noel:

[SAGE] is basically a wrapper around Python with tons of scientific packages added, all nicely pre-compiled into tasty binaries just for you by very nice people (which involves tons of work, not as simple as it sounds). These goodies come in gzipped tarballs that you dump into your $HOME. You can then launch the sage program, which handles regular Python just fine and includes all the modules I was longing for: NumPy (easy, efficient handling of huge numerical array with slicing and dicing), SciPy (input/output and scientific functions), Matplotlib (lots of plotting tools with lickable, anti-aliased output and a syntax almost identical to Matlab)! Even IPython is there, meaning you get a comfortable interactive experience with tab completion on files, objects, dictionaries and tons of other niceties!…Matlab without Matlab.

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If you're interested in using Python as a Matlab replacement, you might also be interested in taking a look a Reinteract, a Python shell that builds in plotting and dependent recalculations.

Another option for MATLAB (without MATLAB) is Inference for MATLAB (

Inference is a Microsoft Office add-in that has a point-and-click interface for adding MATLAB code, .m files, and structured data to Word and Excel documents.

If you use Microsoft Office, Inference is an alternative to EX Builder and Notebook for generating reports, reproducible research, and Office applications.

And even if you don't use Office, Inference has an integrated development environment (Inference Studio) with an intelligent editor that features breakpoints and edit-and-continue.

If you're really looking to be done with MATLAB forever, you can also try Inference for .NET (, which allows you to use IronPython or IronRuby scripting in MS Office.


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