W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-xml-binary@w3.org > November 2004

Re: use cases: binary XML for scientifc computing

From: Stephen D. Williams <sdw@lig.net>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 21:37:53 -0500
Message-ID: <41A2A281.4000000@lig.net>
To: "Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler)" <RogerCutler@chevrontexaco.com>
Cc: mike.beckerle@ascentialsoftware.com, aslom@cs.indiana.edu, whoschek@lbl.gov, xml-dev@lists.xml.org, public-xml-binary@w3.org, kchiu@cs.binghamton.edu, mgovinda@cs.binghamton.edu
This is the whole problem of binary scalars: there are several existing 
formats and more are obviously possible in the future.
The arguments related to binary scalars include:

   1. It's an open-ended mess, just use character representation
   2. Choosing one standard method ("network byte order") is the way to go
   3. Choose the best 'local' method which is great for homogeneity and
      'reader makes right' doable by dissimilar communicators.
   4. A new custom binary format is appropriate to the application (such
      as Oracle's internal Number format which has interesting properties).

Option 3 seems to have the most backing for those who are willing to 
work past option 1.  This would require that a full implementation of a 
format, or a layer above it, be able to convert from any "generally 
accepted" scalar to the local version.  Converting to any "generally 
accepted" format could be optional, but useful.

This problem of one application, directly or indirectly, choosing a 
particular format that differs from the reading application also occurs 
at the character encoding level.  The solution of being able to convert 
at the receiver and optionally at the sender seems reasonable. 

The remaining problem then is the ability to integrate newly invented 
scalar representations, but this seems to be a minor issue currently.


Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler) wrote:

> Seems to me that DFDL fits the floating point data usage case I 
> contributed very well -- except maybe for the desire for somebody else 
> to handle the floating point conversion issues between platforms.  
> That is, "just get on with it" when your IO libraries expect different 
> float structures than that of the source of the data can be a bit 
> painful.  My contacts really don't writing that low level code over 
> and over, with of course the potential for getting it a bit wrong 
> somehow each time.
> -----Original Message-----
> *From:* mike.beckerle@ascentialsoftware.com 
> [mailto:mike.beckerle@ascentialsoftware.com]
> *Sent:* Monday, November 22, 2004 5:31 PM
> *To:* Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler); aslom@cs.indiana.edu; sdw@lig.net
> *Cc:* whoschek@lbl.gov; xml-dev@lists.xml.org; 
> public-xml-binary@w3.org; kchiu@cs.binghamton.edu; 
> mgovinda@cs.binghamton.edu
> *Subject:* RE: use cases: binary XML for scientifc computing
> I do believe that GGF DFDL is relevant to the discussion here. 
> https://forge.gridforum.org/projects/dfdl-wg/ is the site, and
> https://forge.gridforum.org/docman2/ViewProperties.php?group_id=113&category_id=803&document_content_id=2973 
> <https://forge.gridforum.org/docman2/ViewProperties.php?group_id=113&category_id=803&document_content_id=2973> (or 
> http://tinyurl.com/435j7 in case email clobbered the long URL) is the 
> most recent presentation. Around slide 7 is where you'll find content.
> Here's a snippet to give you the "DFDL" idea:


swilliams@hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw@lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw
Received on Tuesday, 23 November 2004 02:39:41 UTC

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