Toolchain Roadmap

The use of the SciPy library requires (or optionally depends upon) several other libraries in order to operate, the main dependencies being Python and NumPy. It requires a larger collection of libraries and tools in order to build the library or to build the documentation.

Of course, the tooling and libraries are themselves not static. This document aims to provide a guide as to how SciPy’s use of these dynamic dependencies will proceed over time.

SciPy aims to be compatible with a number of releases of its dependent libraries and tools. Forcing the user base to other components for upgrade for every release would greatly diminish the value of SciPy. However, maintaining backwards compatibility with very old tooling/libraries imposes limitations on which newer functionalities and capabilities can be incorporated. SciPy takes a somewhat conservative approach, maintaining compatibility with several major releases of Python and NumPy on the major platforms. (That may in and of itself impose further restrictions. See the C Compilers section for an example.)

  • First and foremost, SciPy is a Python project, hence it requires a Python environment.

  • BLAS and LAPACK numerical libraries need to be installed.

  • Compilers for C, C++, Fortran code are needed, as well as for Cython & Pythran (the latter is opt-out currently)

  • The Python environment needs the NumPy package to be installed.

  • Testing requires the pytest Python package.

  • Building the documentation requires the matplotlib, Sphinx packages along with PyData theme, as well as a LaTeX installation.

The tooling used to build CPython has some implications for the tooling used in building SciPy. It also has implications for the examples used in the documentation (e.g., docstrings for functions), as these examples can only use functionality present in all supported configurations.

Building SciPy

Python Versions

SciPy is compatible with several versions of Python. When dropping support for older Python versions, SciPy takes guidance from NEP 29 10. Python 2.7 support was dropped for SciPy releases numbered 1.3 and above but is still available in release 1.2.x, which is a long-term support release 1, 2.

Date

Pythons supported

2018

Py2.7, Py3.4+ (SciPy 1.2.x is the last release to support Python 2.7)

2019

Py3.5+ (but Py2.7-specific code not removed)

2020

Py3.6+ (removal of Py2.7-specific code permitted)

2021

Py3.7+

NumPy

SciPy depends on NumPy but releases of SciPy are not tied to releases of NumPy. SciPy attempts to be compatible with at least the 4 previous releases of NumPy. In particular, SciPy cannot rely on features of just the latest NumPy, but needs to be written using what is common in all of those 4 releases. 1, 3.

The table shows the NumPy versions suitable for each major Python version.

SciPy version

Python versions

NumPy versions

1.2

2.7, >=3.4, <=3.7

>=1.8.2, <= 1.16.x

1.4

>=3.5, <=3.8

>=1.13.3, <= 1.17.3

1.5

>=3.6, <=3.9

>=1.14.5, <= 1.19.3

1.6

>=3.7, <=3.9

>=1.16.5, <= 1.20.x

1.7.0/1

>=3.7, <3.10

>=1.16.5, <1.23.0

1.7.2-x

>=3.7, <3.11

>=1.16.5, <1.24.0

1.8

>=3.8, <3.11

>=1.17.3, <1.24.0

In specific cases, such as a particular architecture, these requirements could vary. Please check the release notes and the meta-package oldest-supported-numpy for more info. 18, 19.

Compilers

Building SciPy requires compilers for C, C++, Fortran, as well as the python transpilers Cython and Pythran (the latter is an opt-out dependency as of version 1.7.0).

To maintain compatibility with a large number of platforms & setups, especially where using the official wheels (or other distribution channels like Anaconda or conda-forge) is not possible, SciPy keeps compatibility with old compilers.

Official Builds

Currently, SciPy wheels are being built as follows:

Platform

Azure Base Image 14

Compilers

Comment

Linux (nightly)

ubuntu-18.04

GCC 4.8

See azure-pipelines.yml

Linux (release)

ubuntu-18.04

GCC 7.5

Built in separate repo 15

OSX

macOS-10.14

LLVM 11.0

Built in separate repo 15

Windows

VS2017-Win2016

Visual Studio 2017 (15.9)

See azure-pipelines.yml

Note that the OSX wheels additionally vendor gfortran 4.8, see 15.

C Compilers

SciPy is compatible with most modern C compilers (in particular clang). In addition to concerns about compatibility with non-standard platforms, there was a long-standing restriction that Windows builds of SciPy had to use the same version of the Microsoft Visual C++ compiler as were used for CPython itself, for reasons of ABI-compatibility 6, 7, 8, 9.

With the introduction of the “Universal C Runtime” 16 since the release of Visual Studio 2015, this restriction has been lifted. For more context, see the explanations by Steve Dower (member of the CPython-on-Windows core developers) on this topic 17.

The use of MS Visual Studio 9.0 (which doesn’t have support C99) to build Python 2.7 has meant that C code in SciPy has had to conform to the earlier C90 standard for the language and standard library. With the dropping of Python 2.7 for SciPy 1.3.x, the C90 restriction is no longer imposed by compilers. For GCC version < 5, an explicit -std=c99 may have to be added by the user if C99 features are used in SciPy code.

In terms of C language standards, it’s relevant to note that C11 has optional features 12 (e.g. atomics, threading), some of which (VLAs & complex types) were mandatory in the C99 standard. C17 (occasionally called C18) can be considered a bug fix for C11, so generally, C11 may be skipped entirely.

SciPy has been restricted in the use of more advanced language features by the available compiler support, and Microsoft in particular has taken very long to achieve conformance to C99/C11/C17, however starting from MS Visual Studio 16.8, C11/C17 is supported 11 (though without the C11 optional features).

Therefore, using C features beyond C90 is contingent upon updating the windows toolchain for SciPy, as well as checking compiler support for the desired feature across all minimally supported compiler versions. In short:

CPython

MS Visual C++

C Standard

2.7, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2

9.0

C90

3.3, 3.4

10.0

C90 & some of C99

3.5, 3.6

14.0

C90 & most of C99

3.7, 3.8, 3.9

15.7

Dependent on MSVC version used to build SciPy

C and C++ Language Standards

C and C++ language standards for SciPy are generally guidelines rather than official decisions. This is particularly true of attempting to predict adoption timelines for newer standards.

Date

C/C++ Standard

<= 2018

C90

2019

C90 for old code, may consider C99 for new

2020

C99

2020

C++11

2021

C++14

?

C11, C17, C++17, C++20

For C, C11/C17 support will be available as soon as the vmImage for building SciPy is upgraded to windows-2019 (which is compatible with currently supported CPython versions and “just” needs to be executed). This is because GCC & LLVM support all relevant C11 features with the oldest currently used versions, and C17 is just a bugfix for C11, as mentioned above.

On the C++ side, since dropping support for Python 2.7, C++11 can be used universally. For C++14, Windows is not a restriction anymore since Visual Studio 15.9 (<-> _MSC_VER 19.16, see 8), has full support (same for C++17), see 4. However, using C++14 still requires bumping the GCC minimal requirement to 5.x and C++17 will require GCC >= 7 4. Compiler support for C++20 is still under heavy development.

Note

Developer Note: Some C99 features would be useful for scientific programming, in particular better support of IEEE 754 5. SciPy has a small include file scipy/_lib/_c99compat.h which provides access to a few functions. Use in conjunction with <numpy/npy_math.h>.

Feature

Workaround

isnan(), isinf(), isfinite()

Use sc_isnan(), sc_isinf(), sc_isfinite()

NAN

Use NPY_NAN (it is almost equivalent)

inline functions

Make static functions and place in an include .h file

mid-block variable declarations

Declare variables at the top of the block

Fortran Compilers

Generally, any well-maintained compiler is likely suitable and can be used to build SciPy.

Tool

Version

gfortran

>= 4.8.0

ifort

A recent version

flang

A recent version

Cython Compiler

SciPy always requires a recent Cython compiler.

Tool

Tool Version

SciPy version

Cython

>= 0.29.13

1.4.1

Cython

>= 0.29.18

1.5.0

OpenMP support

For various reasons 13, SciPy cannot be distributed with built-in OpenMP support. When using the optional Pythran support, OpenMP-enabled parallel code can be generated when building from source.

Other Libraries

Any library conforming to the BLAS/LAPACK interface may be used. OpenBLAS, ATLAS, MKL, BLIS, and reference Netlib libraries are known to work.

Library

Minimum version

LAPACK

3.4.1

BLAS

A recent version of OpenBLAS, MKL or ATLAS. The Accelerate BLAS is no longer supported.

There are some additional optional dependencies.

Library

Version

URL

mpmath

Recent

http://mpmath.org/

scikit-umfpack

Recent

https://pypi.org/project/scikit-umfpack/

Moreover, Scipy supports interaction with other libraries. The test suite has additional compatibility tests that are run when these are installed:

Tool

Version

URL

pydata/sparse

Recent

https://github.com/pydata/sparse/

Testing and Benchmarking

Testing and benchmarking require recent versions of:

Tool

Version

URL

pytest

Recent

https://docs.pytest.org/en/latest/

asv (airspeed velocity)

Recent

https://asv.readthedocs.io/

Building the Documentation

Tool

Version

Sphinx

Whatever recent versions work. >= 2.0.

PyData Sphinx theme

Whatever recent versions work. >= 0.6.1.

Sphinx-Panels

Whatever recent versions work. >= 0.5.2.

numpydoc

Whatever recent versions work. >= 0.8.0.

matplotlib

Generally suggest >= 2.0.

LaTeX

A recent distribution, such as TeX Live 2016.

[The numpydoc package is also used, but that is currently packaged in doc/sphinxext.]

Note

Developer Note: The versions of numpy and matplotlib required have implications for the examples in Python docstrings. Examples must be able to be executed both in the environment used to build the documentation, as well as with any supported versions of numpy/matplotlib that a user may use with this release of SciPy.

Packaging

A Recent version of:

Tool

Version

URL

setuptools

Recent

https://pypi.org/project/setuptools/

wheel

Recent

https://pythonwheels.com

multibuild

Recent

https://github.com/matthew-brett/multibuild

Making a SciPy release and Distributing contain information on making and distributing a SciPy release.