SciPy1.0 Released
SciPy1.0 Released
Written by Janet Swift   
Thursday, 26 October 2017

SciPy, the widely used open source Python library used for scientific and technical computing, has reached the milestone of a Version 1.0 release. This maturity is completed by a governance model and the appointment of Pauli Virtanen as its BDFL.

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Announcing SciPy 1.0.0, Ralf Gommers responds to the surprise that many Pythonistas will have that SciPy, which saw its first release  in 2001, is only now reaching the status of a stable project. He writes:

A version number should reflect the maturity of a project - and SciPy was a mature and stable library that is heavily used in production settings for a long time already. From that perspective, the 1.0 version number is long overdue.

Many of us are a bit perfectionist, and therefore are reluctant to call something "1.0" because it may imply that it's "finished" or "we are 100% happy with it". This is normal for many open source projects, however that doesn't make it right. We acknowledge to ourselves that it's not perfect, and there are some dusty corners left (that will probably always be the case). Despite that, SciPy is extremely useful to its users, on average has high quality code and documentation, and gives the stability and backwards compatibility guarantees that a 1.0 label imply.

SciPy builds on the NumPy array object and is part of the NumPy stack which includes tools like Matplotlib, pandas and SymPy. One of its original authors, Travis Oliphant, who also created NumPy, commented on the 1.0 release saying:

This release represents a dream of many that has been patiently pursued by a stalwart group of pioneers for nearly 2 decades. Efforts have been broad and consistent over that time from many hundreds of people. From initial discussions to efforts coding and packaging to documentation efforts to extensive conference and community building, the SciPy effort has been a global phenomenon that it has been a privilege to participate in.

Oliphant's active involvement in SciPy had to stop around 2010 and in 2011 development moved to GitHub. In the same year Python 3 support was added. 

IPython creator, Fernando Pérez looked back to SciPy's origins commenting on its widespread use and influence:

The existence of a nascent Scipy library, and the incredible --if tiny by today's standards-- community surrounding it is what drew me into the scientific Python world while still a physics graduate student in 2001. Today, I am awed when I see these tools power everything from high school education to the research that led to the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics.

Don't be fooled by the 1.0 number: this project is a mature cornerstone of the modern scientific computing ecosystem. I am grateful for the many who have made it possible, and hope to be able to contribute again to it in the future. My sincere congratulations to the whole team!

Highlights of the release include technical breakthroughs - Windows wheels are available on PyPI for the first time, and continuous integration has been set up on Windows and OS X
in addition to Linux.

The Version 1.0 status is also due to the recent achievement of the organisational goals of a governance structure, code of conduct and a roadmap. The formal structure, as outlined in the SciPy project governance documentation stipulates that the project will have a steering committee made up of Project Contributors who have produced contributions that are substantial in quality and quantity, and sustained over at least one year and a BDFL (Benevolent Dictator for Life), currently Pauli Virtanen who has the authority to make all final decisions.

Commenting on the achieving Version 1.0 status, the duly appointed BDFL, Pauli Virtanen says:

Truthfully speaking, we could have released a SciPy 1.0 a long time ago, so I'm happy we do it now at long last. The project has a long history, and during the years it has matured also as a software project. I believe it has well proved its merit to warrant a version number starting with unity.

Since its conception 15+ years ago, SciPy has largely been written by and for scientists, to provide a box of basic tools that they need. Over time, the set of people active in its development has undergone some rotation, and we have evolved towards a somewhat more systematic approach to development. Regardless, this underlying drive has stayed the same, and I think it will also continue propelling the project forward in future. This is all good, since not long after 1.0 comes 1.1.


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More Information

SciPy.org
SciPy on Github

SciPy project governance

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