[Haskell-cafe] How did you stumble on Haskell?

David Kirkman dkirkman at gmail.com
Mon Jan 29 16:56:03 EST 2007

On 1/28/07, Alexy Khrabrov <deliverable at gmail.com> wrote:
> How do people stumble on Haskell?  I've taught ML at UPenn, and many

For some diversity ...

For years I'd been using (and largely happy with)
pure fortran with a little tcl thrown in for scripting.
I'd played around with a few other languages for kicks
(Java, Lisp, c++), but never really found anything
to pull me away from fortran for good:  it's easy,
insanely portable, and code I wrote in 1988 still works
without modification.

About 2 years ago I ran into a stability problem
while taking numeric derivatives.  In a moment of
inspired procrastination, instead of properly fixing
the problem I decided that I needed 'automatic

A series of fantastic papers by Jerzy Karczmarczuk.
Can't get it installed on my mac laptop.

Months pass. (probably more like a year) In a later
moment of procrastination, I find John Hughes' "Why
functional programming matters".  After seeing Romberg
integration implemented in a handful of lines, I was
hooked.  But the real kicker was the performance of
GHC -- after getting it installed I benchmarked the
Hughes's code against a Fortran integrator.  I don't
remember the exact numbers, but the execution times
were within a factor of a few of each other (I was
expecting 2-3 orders of magnitude).

While I'm not yet entirely sold on the practicality
of the language (things move very fast, and it seems
to be very difficult for me to stick with haskell98),
it's just too much fun to not use.  I'm now using it
daily in a scripting role and one-offs, and I'm seriously
considering using it over fortran in a new workstation
analysis code. (Actually, the 'fun' aspect of it is
providing a just a *bit* of motivation ...)


-david k.

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