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New Julia Language Seeks to Be the C For Scientists

Stefan Karpinski

"The idea is that [Julia] should be extremely high productivity," says Stefan Karpinski, one of the language's developers. "To that end, it's a dynamic language, so it's relatively easy to program, and it's got a very simple programming model."

Credit: Chanel 9

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed Julia, a programming language designed for building technical applications. Julia already has been used for image analysis and linear algebra research.

MIT developer Stefan Karpinski notes that Julia is a dynamic language, which he says makes it easier to program because it has a very simple programming model. "One of our goals explicitly is to have sufficiently good performance in Julia that you'd never have to drop down into C," Karpinski adds. Julia also is designed for cloud computing and parallelism, according to the Julia Web page.

The programming language provides a simpler model for building large parallel applications via a global distributed address space, Karpinski says. Julia also could be good at handling predictive analysis, modeling problems, and graph analysis problems. "Julia's LLVM-based just-in-time compiler, combined with the language's design, allows it to approach and often match the performance of C and C++," according to the Julia Web page.

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