Recently I’ve got a project that’s big enough for a deployment and also fairly technical, I was torn between Rust (Rust isn’t built for technical computing but the ecosystem is catching up fast and other advantages provided by Rust are almost too good) and Julia (I always wanted to try Julia for some real work in science computing, whereas I’ve been using R mainly and MATLAB several years back); but my attempt to do some work in Julia has come to a halt mainly because of Yuri’s blogpost. I’ve followed the Reddit’s discussion on Yuris’ post, and an earlier Julia community discussion on the same post.
There are, by now, a good number of opinions exchanged between both sides, with regards to the correctness issue raisd by Yuri in all 3 discussions. But I would really appreciate a formal address from Julia Dev Team on the correctness issue in Julia, regardless that the team agree or disagree (Or probably there is one already, please kindly point me to it).
Some argued that we should let Julia mature and these types of bugs were so common that many languages suffered before and time would cure all. Opponent disagreed with examples of R and Matlab Core. The Core R and Matlab really has been robust for very long (abundant evidence from all 3 discussions and other places). CRAN (R official package management), is too pedantic (almost notoriously) such that the majority of graduate students would not even consider publishing packages.
Some said that it is the third party packages from researchers and graduate students who were being a bit careless when it comes to programming (rather than solving math problems using computer language). Yuri however brought attention to Base Julia near the very top of the post and they were raised in Julia 1.7 ish back in 2021 or 2020 (e.g.,
prod function from
Base, raised in Jan 2021, Yuri’s post was written at least before May 2022). It’s the number of correctness issues Yuri found and the likelihood of similar issues still pertaining in Core Julia that worried Yuri, in the first place at least. I believe OP was worried much, henceforth asking about new measures for correctness being employed or not. This is the very thing I’d hope the team would address as well, as a potential Julia user.
Others mentioned testing suites available to users such as
JET.jl; I am not sure I, as an user, ought to write unit test on Base Julia functions as singular as
prod, or to set up tests only to almost frequently find out that it was the Base Julia I’d have to fix.
While most critical posts of Julia from Google were merely complaints about user experience and how hard they’d have to depart from old habits built in other languages, Yuri’s post, on the other hand, constructed valid points on one of the main objectives of a technical computing language IMHO; that is to be correct in computation result.
I like Julia since it came out (I’ve been playing around in bitesize since 0.8 but I’ve not really used Julia for anything); I appreciate and support Julia’s ambitions, be it to solve “two-language problem” or to offer syntax similar to MATLAB with performance almost on par with C/C++; and yeah, multiple dispatch as well. Hand on heart I’d reall hope Julia to thrive and be the future of technical computing.