[Haskell-cafe] Python?

Michael Vanier mvanier at cs.caltech.edu
Wed May 11 03:18:58 EDT 2005

> Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 07:49:38 +0200
> From: Jerzy Karczmarczuk <karczma at info.unicaen.fr>
> Michael Vanier wrote:
> >I have enough problems convincing people to learn Scheme.  I've
> >even had people beg me to teach them Matlab as a first programming
> >language, because that is the only language that they needed to get their
> >work done.  Telling them that Matlab's programming language is a creeping
> >horror doesn't sway them at all.
> >  
> >
> Now, why so?
> I won't defend the Matlab language too strongly, but I used it
> for teaching scientific computations, I exploited the vectorized
> expressions, I used objects, and even a lot of functional
> constructs. I don't see any reason to call it a creeping horror.
> It is quite homogeneous and simple, and is decently interfaced.
> Jerzy Karczmarczuk

It's incredibly inconsistent.  To cite just one example, the syntax is
geared towards the notion that "everything is a two-dimensional matrices of
double-precision floating point numbers".  If you want to have a
three-dimensional array, you can do that, but the syntax is not going to be
nearly as elegant, because matlab's array syntax doesn't scale at all.  I
haven't used matlab seriously for a few years (thankfully), but I vaguely
recall several other instances of the same problem.  Basically, matlab
makes programming very easy within a very restricted domain, but if you
want to go outside that domain, you will have to endure a lot of pain.
That is not good language design.

In contrast, Mathematica has a pretty consistent and elegant language.


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