[Haskell-cafe] Is Haskell a 5GL?

Henning Thielemann lemming at henning-thielemann.de
Mon Sep 25 09:27:32 EDT 2006

On Mon, 25 Sep 2006, Ch. A. Herrmann wrote:

> Dear Haskellers,
> do you think that Haskell is a 3GL (third generation language) or a 5GL or
> that the hierarchy of programming language generations is useless?
> I see a problem if the potential of a language is evaluated according to
> the generation it belongs to.
> 1GLs: machine languages
> 2GLs: assembler languages

assembly language (Assembler ist deutsch :-)

> 3GLs: programming based on algorithms (C, Java, ...)
> 4GSs: domain-specific languages (SQL,...)
> 5GLs: automatic problem solving (Mathematica, Prolog,...)
>           and/or visual programming (Visual Basic,...)

Visual Basic and Computer Algebra Systems in the same generation?

> Haskell's laziness would in principle permit programming in a style
> akin to Prolog, e.g., for parser combinators.
> The question is: how strong is the influence of laziness in everyday
> Haskell programming?

Actually, laziness allows me to formulate algorithms that look more like
the specification of the problem than the solution. E.g., I can formulate
the solution of a differential equation in terms of a power series or time
series in that way. However I have to put some effort into formulating it
in a way that works. E.g. I'm only able to solve such equations if it is
possible to express the second derivative in terms of the first and the
zeroth one. Computer algebra systems are essentially better here.

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