Anthony Scopatz

I think, therefore I amino acid.

inSCIght Episode 7: Perl Data Language

This was originally published at inSCIght.

Listen to the podcast

On episode 7, we go straight to the source in our discussion of the Perl Data Language, or PDL for short. PDL is a library for Perl that is similar in size, scope, and purpose to NumPy, Matlab, or IDL. So come with us and learn that there is truly more than one right way to skin an N-dimensional array!

(Note: PDL threading is similar to NumPy broadcasting.)

Today’s hosts include:

  • Craig DeForest (special guest)
  • Karl Glazebrook (special guest)
  • Matthew Kenworthy (special guest)
  • Anthony Scopatz (moderator)

Karl Glazebrook is a professor in the Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing at the Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. Karl chimes in occasionally on the PDL user list from his iPad with an elegant and idiomatic solution to a problem that others have been dancing around. And, by the way, Karl is also the inventor of PDL. We all owe it to him. Karl an observational astronomer doing research and teaching. Research interests include observational cosmology and the formation and evolutionary history of galaxies.

Matthew Kenworthy is a professor in the Faculty of Science at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands. Matt maintains the Mac OS X package of SciPDL, a one-click install of the otherwise complicated PDL-from-scratch installation. When he’s not hacking another PDL script together, he’s doing research on exoplanets and high contrast imaging techniques.

Craig DeForest is a solar physicist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO. He has studied the Sun for over 20 years, with an emphasis on image processing and data analysis. He organized and exploited the first science program executed by the SOHO spacecraft in the 1990s. He abandoned the commercial IDL environment in 1999 and has been a developer for PDL ever since, contributing the range() operator and PDL::Transform module for coordinate transformations and image resampling. Application work includes SWAMIS, a computer vision code optimized for tracking solar magnetic features, and FLUX, a novel magnetohydrodynamic simulation code that uses Perl/PDL as a front end and data conditioning environment.

Intro/Outro Music: ‘Piddle-in-the-Hole’ -Jennifer Margaret Barker

Show Links:

  1. Perl Data Language (
  2. IDL (
  3. PDL::PP (
  4. PDL Slicing and Threading (
  5. Polygon problem solution in PDL (
  6. NumPy (