[Haskell-cafe] Is Haskell a 5GL?

Henning Thielemann lemming at henning-thielemann.de
Wed Oct 4 07:52:20 EDT 2006

On Sat, 30 Sep 2006 jerzy.karczmarczuk at info.unicaen.fr wrote:

> Tamas K Papp writes:
> > In my experience, most people use CAS interactively: they encounter an
> > integral or a PDE that's difficult to solve, so they type it into
> > Mathematica (which frequently cannot solve it either, then you go
> > crazy, numerical, or both ;-).  It is more like a sophisticated
> > symbolic calculator with a lot of patterns built in for manipulating
> > expressions.
> I should have reacted earlier...
> Please don't exaggerate with *opposing* CAS and Haskell, Prolog, or other
> *universal* languages. CAS such as Maple, Mupad, and also Mathematica in
> a sense are also universal, but they simply have
> * enormous libraries permitting to deal with symbolic expressions ;
> * Pattern matching/rewriting contraptions useful to manipulate deeply
>  intricate structures.
> All this CAN BE DONE in Haskell as well, but reinventing the wheel is
> rarely interesting (sometimes is, though) (*).

I think that "CAN BE DONE" is not the point, because everything can be
done in assemb ... erm ... machine code. If I tell OOP people about the
features of Haskell, they say, they can do the same in principle with
their languages. The languages are all Turing-complete, but this statement
is as useful as the observation "a line segment contains as many points as
a filled square" for measuring lengths and areas. On the other hand, since
we have clarified that language generations are a marketing issue, I will
not defend this classification scheme or any classification with it. If at
all, we should respect that Haskell is a class of its own. ;-)

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