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RE: st: Why is Mata much slower than MATLAB at matrix inversion?

From   Nick Cox <>
To   "''" <>
Subject   RE: st: Why is Mata much slower than MATLAB at matrix inversion?
Date   Mon, 23 Jul 2012 17:57:52 +0100

I am always happy to agree with the idea that one should seek the best in everything. 

On axes to grind, or not: That part of the comment was certainly not aimed at you, but just at any one who has axes to grind, including myself. In particular, there is certainly a sense in which I work for Stata, as an Editor of the Stata Journal. If I compared Stata with something else on Statalist, and my comments appeared subjective or biased by my experiences, it would be entirely fair comment to point out that I have Stata roles. This is all part of my main point, that we need to know what experiences lie behind comparisons to evaluate those comparisons. 


Pradipto Banerjee

Nick, that's true. But, if you allow me to add (as a Stata "beginner"): both Stata and MATLAB can be easily integrated to achieve the best of both, e.g. in Stata -winexec- or -shell- and vice versa in Matlab -system- command, and I don't see why not use the best of both ... (really there is no "axe to grind" - I don't work for either StataCorp or Mathworks).

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Nick Cox
Sent: Monday, July 23, 2012 11:29 AM
To: ''
Subject: RE: st: Why is Mata much slower than MATLAB at matrix inversion?

Broad commentary on different software is kind of fun but I think some ground rules are needed if it is also to be considered serious.

That is, what backgrounds do people bring to this discussion? I get the impression that Pradipto is a beginning Stata programmer and an experienced MATLAB (that's still its name) user-programmer and his remarks are to be interpreted accordingly. It would be easiest if there were people who have spent approximately similar time programming MATLAB and Stata, were equally competent in both and had no axe to grind. Those people are likely to be thin on the ground; that being so, comments are difficult to interpret without some idea of people's backgrounds.


Pradipto Banerjee

I had the same issue. I think different applications have their pros and cons. Both Stata and Matlab have their places.

Stata is great for data manipulation and data visualization, merging databases, or trying to quickly see whether a few variables are related to others, carrying out variety of regressions both across time and cross-section, i.e. primarily to build insights from a database without first building a whole set of tools around a database.

On the other hand, once all the insights are developed in Stata, Matlab is perhaps preferable to build the rest of the application because it is faster, has many use toolboxes like optimization, integrates well with the engineering & financial world (e.g. Bloomberg, lots of financial databases & APIs), programming is much easier, awesome editor and is very good as a single environment to develop a complete package.

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