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announce: HDF5 support in Octave

From: stevenj
Subject: announce: HDF5 support in Octave
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 1999 17:59:46 -0500 (EST)

Dear Octave Users,

I thought some of you might be interested to know that I have recently
posted patches to the octave-sources list to allow Octave to read and
write data in HDF5 format "natively" using its load and save commands.

(See my previous post regarding HDF5 and Octave at

All of the data types and annotations of Octave's own binary format are
supported in the HDF5 load/save.  In addition, I have added:

1) support for Octave lists (including arbitrarily nested lists of
arbitrary datatypes).  To my knowledge, this is now the only way to load
and save lists in Octave.

2) support for importing multi-dimensional HDF5 datasets using lists of
matrices (or lists of lists of matrices, etcetera).  Thanks to Joao
Cardoso for the suggestion.

(I have also posted a plug-in called h5read that allows one to import 2d
slices of a multi-dimensional dataset without reading the whole dataset.)

Using the HDF5 format means that a wide variety of other programs can
browse and access the data (especially when you use NCSA's conversion
program to the old HDF format).  I can personally recommend it as a great
way to store the results of scientific computations.  I hope that this
Octave addition will be useful to people, and will be accepted by the
Octave maintainers.

Please let me know if you have any comments.

Steven G. Johnson

PS. I am not associated with NCSA or the HDF developers, just a user.

PPS. See also the HDF home page at

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