# RcppArrayFire v0.1.0: Sparse Matrices and support for Mac OS

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The RcppArrayFire package provides an interface from R to and from the ArrayFire library, an open source library that can make use of GPUs and other hardware accelerators via CUDA or OpenCL. In order to use RcppArrayFire you will need the ArrayFire library and header files which you can build from source or use up-stream’s binary installer. See previous articles for a general introduction.

Version 0.1.0 brings to important changes: Support for sparse matrices and Mac OS

## Support for sparse matrices

RcppArrayFire was started by Kazuki Fukui under the name RcppFire.
Last September he came back to offer sparse matrix support in
#9. The `typed_array<af::dtype>`

class was changed to `typed_array<af::dtype, af::storage>`

with `AF_STORAGE_DENSE`

as default value. Existing code will work unchanged with using dense matrices, but you
can now define a function that expects a sparse matrix

//[[Rcpp::depends(RcppArrayFire)]] #include <RcppArrayFire.h> //[[Rcpp::export]] af::array times_two(const RcppArrayFire::typed_array<f32, AF_STORAGE_CSR>& x) { return 2 * x; }

and returns it multiplied by two:

library('Matrix') x <- as(matrix(c(1, 0, 0, 2, 3, 0, 0, 1, 0, 2), 2, 5), 'dgRMatrix') times_two(x) ## 2 x 5 sparse Matrix of class "dgRMatrix" ## ## [1,] 2 . 6 . . ## [2,] . 4 . 2 4

Besides such simplistic operations, you can use `af::matmul`

to multiply
sparse-dense matrices.
Currently only `f32`

(`float`

) and `f64`

(`double`

) are supported and mapped to
`numeric`

matrices, since the `Matrix`

package does not support complex sparse
matrices. The storage types `CSR`

, `CSC`

and `COO`

are supported via `dgRMatrix`

,
`dgCMatrix`

and `dgTMatrix`

.

## Support for Mac OS

This was started more than a year ago (full history here:
#5), but it seemed impossible
to link with ArrayFire’s unified back-end `libaf`

. I even asked on
stackoverflow, but
that brought me only a tumbleweed badge.

The `macos`

branch started to gather dust when François Cocquemas
opened issue #14 saying that (unsurprisingly)
neither the `master`

nor the `macos`

branch worked with R 3.6.0, but that combining `configure`

from `master`

with the `macos`

branch did work. This was surprising, since `configure`

from `master`

did use the unified back-end. In the end I only had to handle a few conflicts
upon merging to get RcppArrayFire fully supported on Mac OS!

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