Posts tagged 'GSoC'

Sphinx and the QuTiP Developers' Guide

Overhauling the internals of a mathematical library is no good if no other developers on the team know how to use the new systems you’ve put in place, and don’t know why you’ve made the choices you’ve made. In the last week I’ve been writing a new QuTiP developers’ guide to the new data layer that I’m creating as part of my Google Summer of Code project, which has involved learning a lot more about the Sphinx documentation tool, and a little bit of GitHub esoterica.

Currently we don’t have a complete plan for how this guide will be merged into the QuTiP documentation, and where exactly it will go, so for now it is hosted on my own GitHub repository. I have also put up a properly rendered version on a GitHub pages site linked to the repository.

My Sphinx conf.py file for this repository is not (at the time of commit 0edf49e) very exciting. Fortunately, Sphinx largely just works out-of-the-box as one would expect from a mature Python project. Perhaps the boldest part of that file is the intersphinx_mapping dictionary, which uses the intersphinx built-in to link to other projects’ documentation also built with Sphinx.

Right now, the intersphinx documentation is perhaps a little lacking, and sometimes seems to just involve some hope (and some disappointment). In particular, I have several external references set up as

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7intersphinx_mapping = {
    'qutip': ('http://qutip.org/docs/latest/', None),
    'python': ('https://docs.python.org/3', None),
    'numpy': ('https://numpy.org/doc/stable/', None),
    'scipy': ('https://docs.scipy.org/doc/scipy/reference/', None),
    'cython': ('https://cython.readthedocs.io/en/latest/', None),
}

Design draft: data structure specifications

These are some of the discussion topics around how new linear algebra data structures will be defined in QuTiP as part of my Google Summer of Code project.

After some discussion, including some further designs of how the new dispatcher methods would function, we are trying to pursue a “light” data structure strategy. This will hopefully have very lightweight instances of the data, and dispatch methods are simplified; mulitple dispatch is a difficult concept to fit into a true object-oriented style, and we believe that dispatcher methods will make adding new data types and dispatched functions significantly easier.

Originally written on the 8th of June, 2020.

Design draft: data layer separation

This is an early design document about the separation of data layer in QuTiP as part of my Google Summer of Code project. This is a very early-stage document, which is significantly liable to change, but is indicative of the direction we were planning to go.

Originally written on the 1st of June, 2020.

Compiling OpenMP libraries on macOS

In QuTiP we have some optional OpenMP components, which can be used if the C extensions are built with OpenMP support at compile time. Typically this should be achievable just by adding the -fopenmp flag at compile and link time, but unfortunately the llvm clang distribution that Apple ship with macOS is not built with OpenMP support.

Getting the Cython debugger running on macOS

Debuggers are complicated, especially ones that attach to compiled executables. In Python pdb runs inside the interpreter, so it does not need to control other processes, but this will not work once we have Cython-compiled components (or other C extensions) in our Python programmes. Unfortunately, Cython offers us plenty of opportunities to shoot ourselves in the foot, and it is more likely we will need to debug use-after-free, double-free or other nasty segfault situations.

Cython does come with a debugger, which is more properly a set of Python extensions to gdb, the GNU debugger. Macs come with lldb installed and functional, but sadly getting gdb running is a bit tricky. At the time of writing, I have macOS 10.14 Mojave, the current version of gdb is 9.2, and Cython is 0.29.14. Further, the Cython extensions require Python 2.7, but I need to be able to debug Python 3 programmes since it’s the only supported version of Python.

As of right now, I do not have a fully working debugger, but hopefully I will update this post after rebuilding gdb with some minor patches.

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