Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Thu 12th Apr, 2007

CLUG PSIG April 2007 - Python in C in Python in C ...

At 5:00 or so I got the phone call - Bob Edwards, the speaker for the night's Programming SIG at the Canberra Linux User's Group was unwell and wouldn't be able to make it. I sent out a quick note to say that we'd be reverting to the more traditional "everyone talk in their little groups about whatever" format, which was a little unsatisfying. This may seem a contradiction from a person who loves to tell tall tales of programming history and relate episodes from the Daily WTF. But I want to learn as much as I like to teach, and I want to make sure that the CLUG PSIG doesn't turn into the "solve coding problems for Paul Wayper" SIG.

We had a good turn-out, though, and people who had seen my last-minute email had still come along. But the day was really saved when David Collett and Michael Cohen did an impromptu talk about integrating Python with C. Those of us with laptops and internet connections went to the PyFlag code repository that David and Michael and others have been working on, and followed along as David showed us how they'd progressed from using SWiG to writing entirely in C and using the Python integration library to pass data in and out and to call Python methods from within C. David knows his code well and he and Michael were able to demonstrate all the standard things you need to do to integrate the two languages, as well as why those methods were chosen. I was really impressed at their off-the-cuff presentation and it really saved the night.

And then somehow I found myself explaining all about my sequence counting program, why I'd used C instead of Perl to implement it, and what its limitations were. Though everyone was listening attentively, I was secretly fearing that it was turning into a conversation between myself and Michael, who was doing most of the questioning. And there were a couple of good ideas - things like using array-based trie systems, seeking through Clustal .ALN files, and using buffer systems to break the problem down - that he mentioned that I'll have to follow up. But I'm very annoyed with myself that it turned into exactly what I have felt all along that it should not be (q.v.).

Finally it came down to Owen, Ian, Rhys (or Ryan, I can't remember) and myself talking about esoteric things like Big Bang vs Steady State theory, the four quantum forces and their relative strengths, and the families and groups of the Periodic Table. So it ended on a good note after all.

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