Why Python is more popular than other programming languages for “Next BI” issues. Ok there are differences in the syntax, power of string operations or the allocable memory. But, [silent for few seconds] the most business critical issues have mathematical solutions. Solutions like clustering, grouping and so on (check Apache Mahout). I am talking about solutions in the field of linear algebra (for example the k-mean algorithm and so on). Most of them use mathematical matrix operations. And here the mayor -my opinion- difference between programming languages came into the game – the support for matrix-operations. Java (as one of many) does not support these operations natively. Some Java-Specification-Requests started but ended in a early stage.

My conclusion for java is: Some libraries with JDK 1.7 are very close to the performance of native binary – in in many cases better as python. The real power of java is the VM. Java Hotspot JIT compiles “hot” methods to native code and switches to those compiled methods while the program is being run.

Further reading: