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Julia Programming Language

November 22nd, 2015

Recently I’ve been looking into Julia, below are my somewhat random jumbled thoughts so far. I’ve also put together a function listing for julia that should help beginners. I should mention upfront that I actually really like the idea of Julia and that it has a lot of promise.

1. The long time taken for packages/recompilation is annoying and it failed on me a few times.

2. It just annoys me that the index starts at 1 - different than most other languages.

3. One of the most successful modules in python is pandas. Why not take this further and make DataFrames a full part of julia i.e. Make nulls, dataframes and DataArray the builtin for all vectors. If julia is going to be for manipulating data, there are always going to be nulls. Why have the duplication between julia arrays and DataFrames, make them one and the same.

4.Has a number of builtin functions that duplicate functionality available in just as short a form:


They add little and pollute the global namespace. Ken Iverson gives a wonderful talk on reducing a language to the minimal core here:

5. There are many small bugs, inconsistencies and irritations such as:

Should super()/subtypes error on anything? because it does.

julia> super(bb)
ERROR: MethodError: `super` has no method matching super(::Regex)
julia> subtypes(bb)
ERROR: MethodError: `subtypes` has no method matching subtypes(::Regex)
julia> super("2")
ERROR: MethodError: `super` has no method matching super(::ASCIIString)

cd silently fails and isn’t cross platform.

julia> cd("/temp/")
julia> homedir()

It should at least throw an error. Even better would be if julia supported forward slashes regardless of platform. Ensuring julia scripts are cross platform.

run(pipe(`echo world` & `echo hello`, `sort`))

The run command is weird, not like other languages at all. It uses backtick to enclose the command, supposedly to allow easy copy pasting
but what’s the point of that when you cant use piping within a single command, so you will need to break out each command separately anyway. Rather than this string interpolation I could just have used join() myself and have less surprise. This interpolation will also possibly cause issues with user entered commands. (A bit more browsing reveals there is a significant number of people find this a more powerful technique)

Writing to a file isn’t visible. This is very non-intuitive:

julia> f = open("a.txt", "w")
IOStream(<file a.txt>)
julia> write(f, "hello!")
julia> readall(f)
julia> f = open("a.txt")
IOStream(<file a.txt>)
julia> readall(f)

If possible I’d prefer not to have to even specify “w”, rather when its used by a function,
depending if its read or write, those functions handle the underlying details.


Onto New Things

January 23rd, 2013

Very excited to move onto new work at
Working on a GUI for KDB called qStudio
I’ll try to post more java stuff here but I’ll hopefully be doing a lot more q article posting on on TimeStored.


fast java prime number generation

June 7th, 2009

So I found some old prime number generation code and decided to spruce it up. I also wanted to benchmark the BitSet vs a boolean array as I had previously had issues with a boolean array. Six methods tried:

Prime Generators - Source Download

  1. Simp - Simply check for all x’s 0 to maxPrime if x is prime. ie check x isn’t divisible by any number between 2 to x-1.
  2. SimpOdd - same as above, but add 2 to list of known primes, then check all x’s between 0 and maxPrime but stepping in 2’s. And only check for divisibles between 2 to x/2.
  3. S - Sieve - Sieve of Eratosthenes
  4. SS - SkippingSievePG - improve speed by taking advantage that even numbers are never prime except 2. Therefore when sieving using the prime 3, instead of sieving 6,9,12,15,18,21 we can actually sieve 9,15,21 ie jump double our prime each time.
  5. OSS - OddSkippingSievePG - Same as above BUT improve speed/memory making the boolean array represent odd numbers instead of all numbers.
  6. BSOSS - BitSetOddSkippingSievePG - Same as above but use BitSet instead of boolean array

Seconds taken to generate primes between 0 to 10,000,000


Speed of simp’s were so slow as to be unusable for finding large numbers of primes, ie 1000’s of times slower than sieves.

Memory required to generate primes between 0 to 10,000,000


Notice 1,120,000 Bytes needed to store arraylist of integers.

Size of boolean arrays / BitSets in Java

boolean arrays in java use 1 byte per true/false value. BitSets use 1 bit per true/false value (may depend on OS/VM). However BitSets are slower to access. This explains why BitSetOddSkippingSievePG was slower than OddSkippingSievePG but required less memory.

Use a sieve - to generate primes fast

Further Improvements

The idea of reducing the array size by letting the array represent odd numbers could be generalized. Further speed increases are also possible. If you want to know more see wheel factorization or segmented sieves. If you code a quicker prime generator please let me know.


Setup java speech jsapi using FreeTTS

April 13th, 2009

Getting JSAPI setup to work using freetts seems to be quite difficult as seen by here, here, here…..

Turns out the install instructions were incomplete. The instructions were:

1. Go to the FreeTTS/lib directory
2. Type .\jsapi.exe
3. If the binary license agreement is acceptable, accept
it by clicking “I Agree”. The jsapi.jar file will be unpacked
and deposited into the lib directory.

What you actually want to do is:

  1. Download FreeTTS
  2. Unzip the freeTTS binary package and check inside the \lib directory for jsapi.exe
  3. Run Jsapi.exe, say yes, to unpack jsapi.jar
  4. Find your JRE directory, mine was C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.6.0_03\jre\lib\ext
  5. Copy all the Jars (jsapi.jar, freetts.jar, cmu_time_awb.jar, cmu_us_kal.jar, etc.) to that directory
  6. Check in netbeans your projects properties ie right click on project->properties->libraries->manage platforms and the jars should be listed there. If they are not, restart and hopefully they should now be there.
    Netbeans Freetts Setup

    Netbeans Freetts Setup

  7. Copy to the relevant folder. To find out where this is run the HelloWorld example that comes with FreeTTS. In my case the file was located in C:\Documents and Settings\Username\java.home\lib and contained the following
    # Modify this accordingly...

    Or you can set the property using

    System.setProperty("freetts.voices", "");

Any problems, post here and I will try to help you out.

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