Friday, March 31, 2006

Lesson Learned

The more I use free software like OpenOffice and Octave, the more I despise it. The whole GNU "revolution" tries to promise the same functionality and performance with no price tag, but falls way short.

Anyone who does math in a scientific or engineering capacity is familiar with Matlab - it's a piece of software that is easy to quickly develop or test mathematical methods. It's known for being easier to use and code (for math purposes) than lower level languages like Java and C, but at the same time much slower.

I have done 2 projects this semester in Octave, a GNU clone of Matlab. The first project generated CT data of a Shepp-Logan phantom and reconstructed it. The Octave version took about an hour to run. The second project (finished this week) was iterative reconstruction for SPECT or PET data. At 1 iteration, the Octave version took about 5 minutes (multiplied by 20 iterations).

Minutes before I turned in the second project, I decided to see how fast THE SAME CODE would run in Matlab. It completed 2 iterations in about 10 SECONDS!!!!

Hypothetical Question: If there was an error in your code, would you prefer to realize the error in 5 minutes or 10 seconds?

I'm done with the whole idea. Goodbye Octave!! Welcome back Matlab!!!


Blogger Owen said...

Yes. I concur.

11:07 AM  

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