SciPy Roadmap#

This roadmap page contains only the most important ideas and needs for SciPy going forward. For a more detailed roadmap, including per-subpackage status, many more ideas, API stability and more, see Detailed SciPy Roadmap.

Support for distributed arrays and GPU arrays#

NumPy has split its API from its execution engine with __array_function__ and __array_ufunc__. This will enable parts of SciPy to accept distributed arrays (e.g. dask.array.Array) and GPU arrays (e.g. cupy.ndarray) that implement the ndarray interface. At the moment it is not yet clear which algorithms will work out of the box, and if there are significant performance gains when they do. We want to create a map of which parts of the SciPy API work, and improve support over time.

In addition to making use of NumPy protocols like __array_function__, we can make use of these protocols in SciPy as well. That will make it possible to (re)implement SciPy functions like, e.g., those in scipy.signal for Dask or GPU arrays (see NEP 18 - use outside of NumPy). NumPy’s features in this areas are still evolving, see e.g. NEP 37 - A dispatch protocol for NumPy-like modules, and SciPy is an important “client” for those features.

Performance improvements#

Speed improvements, lower memory usage and the ability to parallelize algorithms are beneficial to most science domains and use cases. We have established an API design pattern for multiprocessing - using the workers keyword - that can be adopted in many more functions.

Enabling the use of an accelerator like Pythran, possibly via Transonic, and making it easier for users to use Numba’s @njit in their code that relies on SciPy functionality would unlock a lot of performance gain. That needs a strategy though, all solutions are still maturing (see for example this overview).

Finally, many individual functions can be optimized for performance. scipy.optimize and scipy.interpolate functions are particularly often requested in this respect.

Statistics enhancements#

The following scipy.stats enhancements and those listed in the Detailed SciPy Roadmap are of particularly high importance to the project.

  • Overhaul the univariate distribution infrastructure to address longstanding issues (e.g. see gh-15928.)

  • Consistently handle nan_policy, axis arguments, and masked arrays in stats functions (where appropriate).

Support for more hardware platforms#

SciPy now has continuous integration for ARM64 (or aarch64) and POWER8/9 (or ppc64le), and binaries are available via Miniforge. Wheels on PyPI for these platforms are now also possible (with the manylinux2014 standard), and requests for those are becoming more frequent.

Additionally, having IBM Z (or s390x) in CI is now possible with TravisCI but not yet done - and manylinux2014 wheels for that platform are also possible then. Finally, resolving open AIX build issues would help users.

Implement sparse arrays in addition to sparse matrices#

The sparse matrix formats are mostly feature-complete, however the main issue is that they act like numpy.matrix (which will be deprecated in NumPy at some point). What we want is sparse arrays that act like numpy.ndarray (See discussion at gh-18915). Sparse arrays have largely been implemented in scipy.sparse at this time. Some functionality is still being completed. The future plan is:

  • Provide a feature-complete sparse array API (including 1D-array).
    • Extend sparse array API to 1D arrays:
      • COO, CSR and DOK formats.

      • The CSR 1D format uses 2D CSR code to do 1D things like indexing/min-max/arithmetic.

  • Help other libraries convert to sparse arrays from sparse matrices. Create transition guide and helpful scripts to flag code that needs changing.

  • Deprecate and then remove “sparse matrix” in favor of “sparse array”.

  • Work with NumPy on deprecation/removal of numpy.matrix.