Category "News"


IDL 8.7.3 was released recently1. The new features are:

  1. Using the Intel Math Kernel Library (MKL) for matrix operations now. My experience has been that MKL is a highly optimized implementation of BLAS, a library of low-level matrix and vector operations. Matrix operations, such as the # and ##, should be faster now, but I don't have 8.7.3 to test on, yet.
  2. New BLASS_GEMM matrix multiplication routine with many options for controlling the operation. This is a consequence of adding the MKL.
  3. New SOBOLSEQUENCE routine to generate numbers from the Sobel sequence.

UPDATE 2/25/2020: I have IDL 8.7.3 now and did some simple testing of the performance between IDL 8.7.3 and IDL 8.6 for # and ##. Mean time for multiplying two 50,000 by 50,000 element matrices went from 76.942 sec in IDL 8.6 down to 3.400 sec in IDL 8.7.3.


  1. I have no idea exactly when or how to find that out. ?

IDL 8.7.2 was released sometime last year1. Check out the What's New for more details. The big feature is the WIDGET_BROWSER, which allows a browser window to be embedded in an IDL widget program.


  1. I only know because I saw a webinar for the IDL 8.7.3 release, so it must have been awhile ago. 

IDL 8.7 was released recently. The listed features are:

- `ROUTINE_DIR` function that returns the directory for the file containing the calling routine
- asynchronous job classes
- a few miscellaneous other updates

The asynchronous job classes look interesting:

> The IDLAsync classes allow you to specify units of work to execute asynchronously outside the main IDL session. To do this, create an IDLAsyncQueue and one or more IDLAsyncJob objects that encapsulate the work to be performed. As jobs are added to the queue, they will be executed at some point in the future as resources are available. When a job is complete, you can retrieve its results for further use. You can also construct an IDLAsyncJoin object and pass it into the jobs on creation. If you do this, you can wait on the join object for all of the jobs it observes to be finished before continuing.

Check the [release notes] for more details.

[release notes]: http://www.harrisgeospatial.com/docs/whatsnew.html

VISualize 2013, the annual IDL user group meeting, is planned for June 12-13 at the WWF headquarters in Washington, DC. Registration and call for abstracts are [now open][register].

[visualize2013]: http://idldatapoint.com/2013/03/07/visualize-2013/ "VISualize 2013"
[register]: http://exelisvis.cvent.com/events/visualize-2013/event-summary-5c338d7eb739457f8e4eebfbbc628a7d.aspx "VISualize 2013 registration"

There will be an [ENVI and IDL User Group][registration] organized by Exelis VIS at this year's AGU:

> At the event you will:
>
> * See what’s new in ENVI and IDL and what’s coming down the road
> * Learn how you can access ENVI and IDL functionality in the cloud
> * Share feedback with us over complimentary food and drinks

The event is Wednesday December 5 from 5:30 to 7:30 at Jillian's San Francisco.

I will be presenting a poster right before the User Group meeting. Drop by if you are interested in using GPU's, accelerating curve fitting in IDL, or something else. The poster is IN33A-1529, "GPU accelerated curve fitting with IDL" and will be in Moscone South on Wednesday December 5 from 1:40-6 pm (I won't be there the whole time, will probably do my time at the beginning of the session). I also did some work with IN53C-1744, "A Python Geospatial Language Toolkit", on Friday December 7 at 1:40-6 pm, but I will be gone by that time.

Exelis VIS will be at booth #916. Tech-X will not have a booth this year, I'm focusing my energy on posters and individual meetings. If you are interested in getting together to talk, let me know!

[registration]: https://exelisvis.cvent.com/events/envi-and-idl-user-group-at-agu-2012/registration-74a49222de184a41b5153f323257243b.aspx "ENVI and IDL User Group at AGU 2012"

The [IDL Online Help][Doc center] is [now online][IDL Help]! I can now finally link to the help page for [CONGRID].

Third party libraries are also included in the "[Documentation Center][Doc center]". My personal library[^1] is present, but the parsing of my routines used by the Doc Center doesn't catch all the comments in the headers. I'm working on a release of IDLdoc that will produce Doc Center compatible output for the third party libraries that use IDLdoc.

[^1]: Although I have never really released a full version of my library. I'm trying to get a more complete version together—expect news on this soon.

[IDL Help]: http://idldatapoint.com/2012/10/08/idl-help-on-the-web/ "IDL Help on the web"
[Doc center]: http://www.exelisvis.com/docs/ "Docs - Documentation Center"
[CONGRID]: http://www.exelisvis.com/docs/CONGRID.html "Docs - CONGRID"

[IDL 8.2.1][IDL 8.2.1 release] has been released:

> Last, an editorial. Though 8.2.1 includes bug fixes (52 CRs closed), we’re also adding several new features, so it feels like more than just a maintenance release. I think this is a result of us getting better at the “release early, release often” software philosophy.

I'm downloading now.

UPDATE: note to Mountain Lion users—the Mac installer is not signed, so Mountain Lion will refuse to install it if you haven't changed your defaults. To do a one-time bypass of this, right-click (or control-click) on the installer to get the popup menu and select "Open". That will give you an option to install anyway.

[IDL 8.2.1 release]: http://idldatapoint.com/2012/10/03/idl-8-2-1-released/ "IDL 8.2.1 released!"

Looks like [IDL 8.2.1] is ready:

> IDL 8.2.1 will be released next Wednesday, October 3. It includes updates to, primarily, (New) Graphics, the widget toolkit and the Workbench. I’ll have a more detailed listing, along with a link to download a set of programmatic examples, in a post next week.

From the version number I'm guessing this will be mostly bug fixes, but Mark does mention the addition of [Brewer] color tables!

[IDL 8.2.1]: http://idldatapoint.com/2012/09/27/coming-soon-idl-8-2-1/ "Coming soon: IDL 8.2.1"
[Brewer]: http://docs.idldev.com/vis/color/vis_loadct.html "VIS_LOADCT"

[visualize-presentations]: http://exelisvis.cvent.com/events/visualize-2012/custom-18-b83a109324af4d6083e7493cacaad272.aspx "VISualize 2012 abstracts and presentations"
[hyspeed-visualize]: http://hyspeedblog.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/visualize-2012/ "VISualize 2012 – Remote sensing, conservation and the environment"

The [abstracts and presentations][visualize-presentations] for VISualize 2012 are now available from the Exelis VIS website.

Also, James Goodman from HySpeed Computing wrote [an article][hyspeed-visualize] on his experience at VISualize:

> A central topic of discussion in the presentation by HySpeed Computing, and a common theme heard around the conference, is the need for increased collaboration, improved access to analysis tools, and greater data accessibility.

I agree. Even though James was talking about the ENVI community and used the IDL community as an example with good code sharing, I think we could do a lot better.

[slides]: http://michaelgalloy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/mgalloy-visualize-2012.pdf "Accessing climate data via DAP"
[example-code]: http://michaelgalloy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/mgalloy-visualize-2012.zip "Example code"
[npp-code]: ftp://download.exelisvis.com/groups/esg/seminars/using-envi-idl-with-npp-viirs-data.zip "Using IDL+ENVI with NPP VIIRS Data"

Here are the [slides] and [example code][example-code] for my "Accessing climate data via DAP" talk at VISualize this year.

Also, note that Mark Piper's talk "Using IDL+ENVI with NPP VIIRS Data" used [some routines][npp-code] that I worked on last fall.

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