NumPy Roadmap

This is a live snapshot of tasks and features we will be investing resources in. It may be used to encourage and inspire developers and to search for funding.

Interoperability protocols & duck typing

  • __array_function__

    See NEP 18 and a sample implementation

  • Array Duck-Typing

    NEP 22 np.asduckarray()

  • Mixins like NDArrayOperatorsMixin:

    • for mutable arrays
    • for reduction methods implemented as ufuncs

Better dtypes

  • Easier custom dtypes - Simplify and/or wrap the current C-API - More consistent support for dtype metadata - Support for writing a dtype in Python
  • New string dtype(s): - Encoded strings with fixed-width storage (utf8, latin1, …) and/or - Variable length strings (could share implementation with dtype=object, but are explicitly type-checked) - One of these should probably be the default for text data. The current behavior on Python 3 is neither efficient nor user friendly.
  • should not be platform dependent
  • better coercion for string + number

Random number generation policy & rewrite

NEP 19 and a reference implementation


vindex/oindex NEP 21


NumPy is much more than just the code base itself, we also maintain docs, CI, benchmarks, etc.

  • Rewrite
  • Benchmarking: improve the extent of the existing suite, and run & render the results as part of the docs or website.
    • Hardware: find a machine that can reliably run serial benchmarks
    • ASV produces graphs, could we set up a site? Currently at, should that become a community resource?

Functionality outside core

Some things inside NumPy do not actually match the Scope of NumPy.

  • A backend system for numpy.fft (so that e.g. fft-mkl doesn’t need to monkeypatch numpy)
  • Rewrite masked arrays to not be a ndarray subclass – maybe in a separate project?
  • MaskedArray as a duck-array type, and/or
  • dtypes that support missing values
  • Write a strategy on how to deal with overlap between numpy and scipy for linalg and fft (and implement it).
  • Deprecate np.matrix

Continuous Integration

We depend on CI to discover problems as we continue to develop NumPy before the code reaches downstream users.

  • CI for more exotic platforms (e.g. ARM is now available from, but it is not free).
  • Multi-package testing
  • Add an official channel for numpy dev builds for CI usage by other projects so they may confirm new builds do not break their package.


Python type annotation syntax should support ndarrays and dtypes.

  • Type annotations for NumPy:
  • Support for typing shape and dtype in multi-dimensional arrays in Python more generally

NumPy scalars

Numpy has both scalars and zero-dimensional arrays.

  • The current implementation adds a large maintenance burden – can we remove scalars and/or simplify it internally?
  • Zero dimensional arrays get converted into scalars by most NumPy functions (i.e., output of np.sin(x) depends on whether x is zero-dimensional or not). This inconsistency should be addressed, so that one could, e.g., write sane type annotations.