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Re: Perceptual experiments

On Wed, 1 Feb 2006, Erick Gallun wrote:

As long as we are all throwing our 2 cents in, I'd suggest Matlab as a great place to start. It has the advantage of being a single environment in which you can design stimuli, collect and analyze data and perform model simulations. It also provides a very flexible graphical output mechanism. In addition, the number of labs using it is very large, providing a wide range of fellow-users to draw upon.

In terms of programming, I have written experiments in Max/MSP, Psyscope, Pascal and Matlab and find Matlab to be a wonderful compromise between high-level opaque programs and low-level, steep-learning-curve languages.

Here is my personal experience about programming languages, in an academic context:

I am very new to the field of audio applications, but in general I tend to recommend OCaml (Objective Caml) for many applications. I've been using it
for 6-7 years for developing bioinformatics programs and I am still extremely pleased with it.
It is a multi-purpose, high-level, high-productivity language, with a steep learning curve, but extremely comfortable to work with since the compiler catches most of your mistakes. You don't have to run your programs a zillion times before you can make it work.

I don't like C because it makes me waste my time. I don't like C++ because it's not safer than C, just more complicated. I don't like Python because I can't afford to run my programs under all possible conditions to have an idea if they are correct or not, and occasionally it is too slow. Ada, Java for what I know are pretty verbose, that's not a good thing for my productivity. Haskell is supposed to be good but the monad thing, ... no thank you. And Matlab, well, not everything in life is a matrix, right?

That's just my opinion though, and of course I am far from being a specialist of these languages, except for OCaml :-)

Official site: http://caml.inria.fr
Tutorial: http://www.ocaml-tutorial.org
Book "OCaml for scientists":
  (you can ask the author Jon Harrop, he has a different experience than
  me and I am sure he will be glad to advertize OCaml further)
Beginner's mailing list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ocaml_beginners/


Martin Jambon, PhD

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