Julia is Python + C, says creator Viral Shah

Viral Shah says the Julia programming language combines the performance of Python with the pace of manufacturing of languages like C to unravel large knowledge and analytics issues.

Shah, who grew up in Mumbai and was amongst those that helped architect Aadhaar, created Julia about 10 years in the past along with three different technologists – Alan Edelman, Jeff Bezanson, and Stefan Karpinski. He’s additionally now the co-founder and CEO of Julia Computing.

Shah was our visitor on Occasions Techies webinars final week and he spoke to us from Boston the place he lives now. Julia is an open-source language for high-performance technical computing and knowledge science. Shah mentioned Julia is over 10x quicker than Python and R, each of that are additionally primarily used for analytics and AI. Requested how they did it and whether or not Python could possibly be made equally quick, Shah mentioned: “Can I take my Tata Indica and bolt on a brand new engine, change the gasoline and with customisations, can it turn into a Ferrari? The reply is not any. Ferrari was designed to be a quick automobile and each resolution was taken conserving efficiency in thoughts. When Julia was designed, each design resolution from day one was taken conserving in thoughts the efficiency. If it didn’t assist efficiency, we didn’t put that function into the language. We now have to start out from the drafting board and never retroactively match it into an current system.”

Python is a normal function language and is getting used more and more in areas apart from knowledge analytics and knowledge science. However Julia is targeted on large knowledge and analytics. “In the event you’re constructing a brand new search engine that’s closely mathematical, or making an attempt to foretell the climate, or discovering a brand new drug, that’s the place you utilize Julia. However if you’re constructing a cellular app, Julia shouldn’t be a solution to that. It’s for very giant knowledge units and the place you’re constructing a fancy algorithmic software,” Shah mentioned.


Many Julia libraries are written by college students, a lot of them from India. Half of the Julia group members within the Google Summer time of Code come from Indian universities, principally from tier-2 faculties. That expertise is wonderful. Issues which are written by PhDs and professors are being written by college students in India. They’ve raised the bar.

Viral Shah, co-founder & CEO, Julia Computing

He mentioned Julia can also be wonderful for the manufacturing setting. Scientists and area specialists use Python, R and SAS to jot down their algorithms as a result of they’re less complicated languages. However when these algorithms should be run on knowledge on giant scale – put into manufacturing, in different phrases – the algorithms should be rewritten in C++, C# or Java. So two completely different languages, two completely different units of individuals required. Shah mentioned Julia may be straight put into manufacturing, and that additionally permits the scientists, area specialists, knowledge scientists and programmers to work on the identical platform, resulting in much more collaboration. “Julia is as a lot of a social assemble as it’s a technical assemble,” he mentioned.

Julia, he mentioned, is enabling the power to do differentiable programming – what makes the educational in AI potential – on a broad number of techniques in comparison with AI algorithms in the present day. This makes it potential to make use of AI in lots of new areas.

Requested if arithmetic was crucial to make use of Julia, Shah mentioned it wasn’t crucial. However he mentioned arithmetic will make one a greater programmer. “Julia is the language of science and the convenience with which you’ll compute utilizing math in Julia is way superior to what existed earlier than it,” he mentioned.

Julia is being utilized by Google as a analysis language. Shah famous that Google’s head of AI, Jeff Dean, tweeted two years in the past that Julia together with Google’s {hardware} – Tensor Processing Items – was the very best mixture for quick and simply expressible machine studying computations.

Intel, Amazon, Fb, Microsoft, Uber are amongst over 10,000 corporations that in the present day use Julia.

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