[Haskell-cafe] Future Edison directions

Brian Hulley brianh at metamilk.com
Tue Aug 1 15:14:37 EDT 2006

Robert Dockins wrote:
[snip other points]
> 7) Finally, I somehow feel like there should be a nice categorical
> formulation of these datastructure abstractions which would help to
> drive a refactoring of the API typeclasses in a principled way,
> rather than on an ad-hoc I-sort-of-think-these-go-together sort of
> way.  Unfortunately, my category-fu is quite weak, so all I have is
> this vague intuition that I can't substantiate.  I'm sort of familiar
> with initial algebras, but I think they may be too concrete.  I'm
> looking for some way to classify algebras that have, eg, the property
> of having folds, or of being set-like, etc.  If anybody can point me
> in the right direction wrt this, that would be great.

I'd love to find out more about these categorical abstractions also, since 
Monads and Monoids (the only ones I know about) are an incredible source of 
power and expressiveness in Haskell programming, so I've got the feeling 
that I'm wasting tremendous amounts of time reinventing the wheel when other 
abstractions that may be equally useful are just waiting to be used...

Can anyone recommend a good book or web tutorial about category theory 
that's not too difficult? I'm thinking about something which would have lots 
of diagrams and discussion about the relevance of the concepts to practical 
computing problems but not something loaded with complicated proofs or LaTeX 
symbols :-)

Thanks, Brian.

Logic empowers us and Love gives us purpose.
Yet still phantoms restless for eras long past,
congealed in the present in unthought forms,
strive mightily unseen to destroy us.


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