Thursday, November 17, 2016

Python 3 compatibility

Last weekend I gave a ten minute talk in PyCon Canada 2016. As usual met some wonderful people and attended some interesting talks. The video will not be online for a few weeks.

As usual a lot of items on the agenda. The simplest is continue building for larger systems. The next is something I have been putting off for quite a while but think I should get down to pretty soon - compatibility with Python 3. So far the simulator used Python 2 but this is now legacy software. All Linux OS ship with Python 3 and even my IDE complains of syntax errors when there is nothing wrong with the syntax except that it looks for Python 3. Will need to read into the differences between Python 2 and 3 to make sure this transition is smooth.

The next thing is a little more complicated. I have been trying to speed the simulator up. One simple way to do so is to try to store as many of the loops and computations in a dictionary so that they can be looked up rather than calculated every time. The only question is what is the limit of this storage and will I ever run out of memory? I am assuming that a dictionary will be stored in the heap which is limited by the RAM which nowadays is good enough. If however, this dictionary gets stored in the stack, it would be a serious problem as the stack is limited and running out of memory is possible. I will need to look into some analytic tools that can tell me how my simulator is performing with respect to memory - which functions use the most?

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