[Haskell-cafe] Mathematics in Haskell Re: Why the Prelude must die

Bryan Burgers bryan.burgers at gmail.com
Mon Apr 2 14:09:04 EDT 2007

> Jacques Carette wrote:
> >
> >> perhaps i was mistaken in thinking that there is a group of
> >> math-interested
> >> haskellers out there discussing, developing, and documenting the area? or
> >> perhaps that group needs introductory tutorials presenting its work?
> > My guess is that there are a number of people "waiting in the wings",
> > waiting for a critical mass of features to show up before really diving
> > in.  See
> > http://www.cas.mcmaster.ca/plmms07/
> > for my reasons for being both interested and wary).
> >
> > Probably the simplest test case is the difficulties that people are
> > (still) encountering doing matrix/vector algebra in Haskell.  One either
> > quickly encounters efficiency issues (although PArr might help), or
> > typing issues (though many tricks are known, but not necessarily
> > simple).  Blitz++ and the STL contributed heavily to C++ being taken
> > seriously by people in the scientific computation community.  Haskell
> > has even more _potential_, but it is definitely unrealised potential.
> >
> I am one of those mathematicians "waiting in the wings."  Haskell looked
> very appealing at first, and the type system seems perfect, especially for
> things like multilinear algebra where currying and duality is fundamental.
> I too was put off by the Num issues though--strange mixture of sophisticated
> category theory and lack of a sensible hierarchy of algebraic objects.
> However, I've decided I'm more interested in helping to fix it than wait;
> so count me in on an effort to make Haskell more mathematical.  For me that
> probably starts with the semigroup/group/ring setup, and good
> arbitrary-precision as well as approximate linear algebra support.

I've been watching this thread for quite a while now, and it seems to
me that there is quite a bit of interest in at least working on a new
Prelude. I've also noticed a 'The Other Prelude' page on the wiki
[http://haskell.org/haskellwiki/The_Other_Prelude] and they seem to
have a start on this. So it seems that we should actually start this,
because people will contribute. Can somebody with good Cabal skills
and maybe access to darcs.haskell.org start a new library for people
to start patching?

Bryan Burgers

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