[Haskell-cafe] Re: Channel9 Interview: Software Composability and theFu ture of Languages

Magnus Therning magnus at therning.org
Wed Jan 31 03:45:53 EST 2007

On Wed, Jan 31, 2007 at 02:40:23 +0300, Bulat Ziganshin wrote:
>Hello Benjamin,
>Saturday, January 27, 2007, 12:00:11 AM, you wrote:
>> and support operational reasoning, i.e. creating and understanding
>> programs by mentally modeling their execution on a machine. This form
>> of reasoning appeals to 'common sense', it is familiar to almost all
>> (even completely un-educated) people and is therefore easier
>> acessible to them.

>> greatly simplifies denotional resp. equational reasoning(**), i.e. to
>> understand a program as an abstract formula with certain logical
>> properties; an abstract entity in its own right, independent of the
>> possibility of execution on a machine. This way of thinking is less
>> familiar to most people
>i think you are completely wrong! FP way is to represent everything as
>function, imperative way is to represent everything as algorithm.
>there is no "natural thinking way", the only think that matters is
>*when* student learned the appropriate concept. let's look - in my
>college, the notion of algorithm was introduced at the 1st course
>*before* any other programming courses. we even studied Turing machine
>as an abstract algorithm executor

Nneither way may be "natural", but imperative thinking is extremely
common in society, I'd say much more than "functional" thinking.  Just
think of cooking recipes, IKEA instructions, all the algorithms tought
in math classes in grade school.  I doubt that we'll ever see functional
thinking tought alongside imperative thinking in lower grades in school.

It could even be that the development of the human brain as we
grow up reaches a state where it can handle imperative thinking before
it can handle functional thinking (I bet there's a reason why astronauts
have step-wise instructions rather than a set of "functions").

All I'm trying to say is that imperative thinking is so common outside
of CS/math and we learn it so early on in life that we probably can
consider it the "natural thinking way".


Magnus Therning                             (OpenPGP: 0xAB4DFBA4)
magnus at therning.org             Jabber: magnus.therning at gmail.com
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