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From: Matthias Schabel (boost_at_[hidden])
Date: 2007-02-08 13:19:47

> I don't really see three parts. Any distinction between
> distributions and so-called special functions, or indeed the

I was just drawing on the fact that the top-level of documentation is
split into three sections : Statistical Distributions,
Special Functions, and Toolkit.

> 'not-so-special' functions like log, exp sin is purely arbitrary:
> they are all math functions IMO. It is true that, in general,
> distribution functions use 'special functions' which in turn use
> 'not-so-special' functions, but IMO it would be confusing to try to
> divide them.

I'm not sure I agree with this; the distinction between 'not-so-
special' functions and 'special' functions is arguably shady, but
pretty well ensconced in the mathematics/numerical analysis
literature. However, distributions are clearly a special case -
while they can be viewed as functions, they have a very specific
interpretation and behaviors that are not shared, in general,
by other functions (CDF/PDF makes sense for them, for example)...

> A review does indeed need input from various people with different
> areas of expertise, but I don't realy see how to avoid this.
> Hopefully they will just limit their comments to what they know
> about ;-)

My concern is that we're effectively building a Boost version of the
GSL (GNU Scientific Library) from the bottom up rather
than the top down. If we aren't very careful about certain design
decisions made at the outset, there may come a point where
it is discovered that some poor and difficult to fix choices were
made. So there are two levels that need consideration : 1)
the low-level implementation (accuracy/performance) of the various
functions and 2) the overall architecture including error
handling and higher-level implementation issues.

> There are also some serious practical problems about a
> retrospective division - not least the documentation, where we have
> worked
> quite hard to provide cross linking, and now over 250 pages as a
> pdf! Not to mention the code, cross function use, and common error
> handling etc.

I understand the difficulties involved and have great respect for the
effort you and John have put into this work. I certainly
wouldn't expect that you completely revamp the documentation,
especially given its extensiveness. In any case, I want to
make it clear that I will not let my personal opinions on the library
impact any decisions I make in the Review Manager capacity.
At the same time, I hope it is acceptable to provide input and
opinions as a normal Boost member...


Matthias Schabel, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology
Utah Center for Advanced Imaging Research
729 Arapeen Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
801-587-9413 (work)
801-585-3592 (fax)
801-706-5760 (cell)
801-484-0811 (home)
matthias dot schabel at hsc dot utah dot edu

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