[Haskell-beginners] Motivation to Learn Haskell

Lorenzo Isella lorenzo.isella at gmail.com
Fri Sep 3 18:57:26 EDT 2010

Dear All,
It is my first post to this list and please do not take it as an attempt 
to start any flamewar.
 From time to time, I try to find the motivation to learn at least the 
fundamentals of another programming language.
I normally use R and Python on a daily basis (but I am not that much 
into OO programming) and have a good knowledge of Fortran and a rather 
superficial one of C.
Beside learning a new language as a sort of mind expanding exercise, I 
try to figure out how and if it can save me some time in my work and how 
it measures up against other languages.
These days I tend to rely on R for data analysis and visualization 
whereas I use Python (in particular Numpy+SciPy) for number crunching 
(it is very convenient to use scipy/numpy to solve ODE's, manipulate 
arrays and so on).
Now, I wonder what benefit I would gain from learning Haskell since I 
mainly write codes for numerical simulations/data analysis.
I know Haskell is gaining momentum e.g. in the financial environment (I 
happened to see Haskell knowledge as a specification in some quant jobs) 
hence it must be more than suitable for numerical work and, by the 
little I have understood so far, it allows one to write code really 
resembling mathematical expressions (I was impressed by guards and 
curried functions).
However, it also looks to me (correct me if I am mistaken) that Haskell 
is a far cry from the wealth of standard and contributed scientific 
modules you have in Python or R and thanks to which you do not 
re-implement the wheel yourself.
Any thoughts/suggestions are really appreciated.


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