[Haskell-cafe] Re: Generalizing three programs

Yitzchak Gale gale at sefer.org
Tue Feb 6 06:35:14 EST 2007

apfelmus wrote:

> I'm unsure whether it's a good idea to simulate
> the situations, I'd prefer a more denotational
> approach...

Queuing theory is a very large and mature area of
research, with many important applications in
industry. It is not a coincidence that a certain
telephone company named a functional programming
language after Erlang, the founder of queuing

>From the little I know about it, the problem space
is quite complex. Simple cases can be calculated
easily, but the math starts getting messy very
quickly as the complexity increases.  On the other
hand, simulation is a very powerful tool that is
very generally applicable. Functional programming
languages, such as Er^H^H Haskell, are very good
at this.

> ...it's not specified what "efficiency" means in
> the grocery store problem...  one could weight
> mean wait time with that, so that people buying
> few stuff have much shorter waiting times than
> people with several full shopping carts.

And the relative cost to the supermarket of
various strategies will obviously be a factor in
any real-life application.

> http://haskell.org/haskellwiki/Research_papers/Data_structures#Probablistic_Programming
> may help... the sampling can be integrated
> transparently into the probabilistic functional
> programming framework cited above.

Hey, that is a very cute library.


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