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From Phil Steitz <>
Subject Re: [math] RealMatrix Immutability
Date Tue, 12 Oct 2004 23:09:57 GMT
Michael Heuer wrote:
> On Tue, 12 Oct 2004, Phil Steitz wrote:
>>Mark R. Diggory wrote:
>>>I think we wanted to maintain the existence of setEntry/getDataRef API
>>>of the RealMatrixImpl without having it in the RealMatrix Interface. At
>>>least until we come up with a strategy for mutability that made more
>>>sense then these methods. This last change removed it from both.
>>getDataRef is still there in RealMatrixImpl, though I am starting to think
>>that we can make it protected.  Either the class is immutable or it is
>>not.  We need to decide. All of the use cases that I have can actually be
>>accomplished with the immutable version, using the algebraic operations
>>exposed in the RealMatrix API.  If others have use cases that require
>>mutability, then we can change it back, but I would like to know what they

Another point in favor of immutability is that the cached LU decomposition 
becomes invalid on mutation, so the luDecompose method has to be exposed. 
  This method can also be made protected or even private now.

>>>We are attempting to make the Implementation immutable so that methods
>>>calls such as getColumnMatrix(i) and getSubMatrix(xmin,xmax,ymin,ymax)
>>>will be able to return submatrice objects of the existing data without
>>>duplicating/copying the internal datastore to do so, this will provide
>>>efficient means to access the stored values without performing costly
>>>array copies on what may be very large double[][]'s or copying objects
>>>which may not be in an []. So basically, what we are trying to avoid is
>>>that if I do the following
>>>Matrix a = ...
>>>Matrix b = a.getColumnMatrix(x);
>>>that if (a) is mutable, then doing something like a.setEntry(x,y,d) will
>>>also cause (b) to change, something we should try to avoid, we are
>>>trying to work with these more as mathematical objects and not
>>>necessarily as "Collection objects".
>>Yes, but the getSubXxx and getCol, getRow currently make copies. Assuming
>>we retain immutability, this makes no functional difference (another
>>argument for making the class immutable).  Implementation will be very
>>tricky (and likely very inefficient) if we try to support "data sharing"
>>as you describe. It would also make getDataRef impossible to implement.
>>>If you require such mutability, could you take a moment and show an
>>>example of the usage you require it for?
>>I thought at first that I would need mutability in my applications, and I
>>think that Kim did as well; but I found that my use of it was just because
>>I did not have the right boundary between the double[][] stuff that I was
>>doing and the algebraic operations (which is what RealMatrix is for).
> The double[][] constructor for RealMatrixImpl copies the input array, so
> if I want to fill a matrix with values, isn't it more efficient and more
> straightforward to simply fill the matrix?
> RealMatrix rm = new RealMatrixImpl(10000, 10000);
> for (int row = 0, rows = rm.getRowDimension(); row < rows; row++)
> {
>   for (int col = 0, cols = rm.getColumnDimension(); col < cols; col++)
>   {
>     rm.setEntry(row, col, someValue);
>   }
> }

That is a good point, but is not really an argument agains immutability. 
This is really just an initialization issue. The constructor makes a copy 
to be "defensive" and to provide a clean separation.  We could provide a 
factory method that does not make a copy in MatrixUtils.  That is probably 
a good idea.  Do you have other use cases where the setEntry method is 
really required?

>>>>I also wanted to mention that I feel that this interface and its
>>>>implementation seem too closely intertwined with double arrays, as if
>>>>clients of the API are going to be moving back and forth between the
>>>>two data representations regularly.
>>Well, many clients will in fact be doing that, though hopefully with clean
>>boundaries.  Can you suggest alternatives that do not impose too much
>>>>With the Collections interfaces, if I want a List, I'm going to use
>>>>one, not go back and forth between Lists and arrays.  Similarly, if I
>>>>to use a RealMatrix, I'd like to use one, not go back and forth
>>>>between it
>>>>and 1D and 2D double arrays.
>>That's sort of the point of the immutability argument above.  The double[]
>>and double[][] valued accessors are for convenience and speed when
>>crossing the boundary back into the client application.  Some applications
>>will start with arrays, use RealMatrix to perform algebraic operations and
>>then use "output" arrays directly.  That is why the accessors are there.
>>Thanks for the feedback.
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