Hi to everybody,
@giordano and I have submitted a paper for the Proceedings of ADASS 2018. It is available here: http://arxiv.org/abs/1812.01219. Slides of the talk I gave are available on SlideShare: https://www.slideshare.net/MaurizioTomasi/towards-new-solutions-for-scientific-computing-the-case-of-julia.
Because of a 4-page limit on articles, we had to do some hard cuts. We have not been able to talk about Julia’s type system and dynamic dispatch, and I would have liked to provide more details about the way I’m using Julia in cosmological applications.
The conference was great, although my talk was scheduled to be the very last. I was quite amazed to see that no one mentioned Julia during the 5-day conference (but there were three talks and two posters about Rust, even though it does not seem particularly well-tailored for astronomical applications.)
The public asked several questions:
- Are there tools like
rustfmt? I mentioned the existence of Documenter.jl but added that I am not aware of any automatic code formatter.
- Does a transpiler from Python to Julia exist? I was not aware of any, but I said that it would be a hard task to produce a transpiler that produces performant Julia code, as techniques to write fast code are different in NumPy and Julia.
- Is it possible to compile Julia code to executables, to simplify deployment? I answered that this is not easy at the moment, but that developers are willing to implement this at some time.
- Can you write OOP code in Julia? I answered that there are OOP constructs, but they are quite different from mainstream OOP languages like Java and C++.
- Is it possible to write Python extensions in Julia? This was asked by several people: as space projects have large Python codebases, this would allow people to introduce Julia in existing projects, much like Mozilla slowly is doing with Rust in Firefox. I answered that I wasn’t aware of this kind of tool, but it would probably be possible once Julia can produce standalone
.solibraries. (@giordano pointed me to the existence of pyjulia, but I wasn’t aware of its existence.)
My impression is that a few people in the audience got excited for Julia. A few people told me that they considered using Julia a couple of years ago, but they gave up because of the immaturity of the language. Another one (a Rust enthusiast) told me that Julia could really become the “Python killer” in astronomy!
At the end of the conference, the SOC announced that they have struck a deal with the Astronomy & Computing Journal to produce a special issue about ADASS 2018, and they encouraged attendants to consider writing a paper for this issue in due time. (The idea is to submit something like the contribution to the proceedings, but without the 4-page limit.)