[Haskell-cafe] Re: ANNOUNCE: Haskell Communities and Activities Report (15th ed., November 2008)

Benjamin L.Russell DekuDekuplex at Yahoo.com
Tue Dec 2 03:28:57 EST 2008

On Fri, 28 Nov 2008 16:15:30 -0800, Don Stewart <dons at galois.com>

>Good work!
>It is always interesting to see the secret Haskell projects that only
>get announced via the HCAR. Things not on haskell@ or on hackage.
>For example, this under-the-radar project:
>    http://www.haskell.org/communities/11-2008/html/report.html#sect7.7
>    7.7  IVU Traffic Technologies AG Rostering Group
>Haskell to solve constraints on EU bus timetables! In production use!    

Speaking of production use, one type of project that would be
interesting would be a study examining how Haskell can increase
programmer productivity for production use for programmers who are not
necessarily gifted in programming, but whose forte may lie in another
field and who are very interested in functional programming; i.e.,
some type of tabulated data (preferably a graph, although a table
would work, too) of data quantifying how useful Haskell is in allowing
one whose forte may not necessarily be in programming (say, a
physicist, mathematician, or even a translator who happens to have an
algorithmically-focused computer science degree) to equal or excel the
productivity of, say, a gifted C/C++ programmer in, say, setting up a
commercial Web site.

The reason is that recently, there has been news of people in academia
leaving for other realms because of worsening conditions (see "As
strikes begin, lecturer quits to become plumber" at
and "Why I am Not a Professor OR The Decline and Fall of the British
University" at http://www.lambdassociates.org/blog/decline.htm).  Up
to know, my dream was to publish a paper on type theory to motivate
study of Haskell, but now it looks like I may need to aim for creating
a commercial Web site.  However, I am not sure of being able to
compete with commercial Web sites, because I am more of a
writer/translator who happens to like functional programming than a
real-life programmer.

I've already seen such articles as "Why Functional Programming
Matters" (see http://www.md.chalmers.se/~rjmh/Papers/whyfp.html), "Why
Haskell Matters" (see
http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Why_Haskell_matters), and "Beating
the Averages" (see http://www.paulgraham.com/avg.html).  However,
these essays tend to focus on how a functional language FL is
structurally better than non-functional languages NFL in general,
without specifying the skill-level of the programmer.  Instead, it
would be interesting to find the minimum skill-level s necessary for,
say, somebody whose forte is not in programming, but who, say, studies
functional programming as a hobby, to use Haskell as a tool in
achieving a productivity level equivalent to that of a gifted C/C++

To sum:  Can a theoretically-minded Haskell student who studies
Haskell out of interest in type theory compete with star C/C++
programmers in developing, say, commercial Web sites?

This is not quite clear, because even if Haskell can increase
programmer productivity by tenfold, a star programmer can also be more
productive than an average programmer by tenfold.

How risky is this challenge?

-- Benjamin L. Russell

>-- Don
>> On behalf of the many, many contributors, I am pleased to announce
>> that the
>>             Haskell Communities and Activities Report
>>                   (15th edition, November 2008)
>>                http://www.haskell.org/communities/
>> is now available from the Haskell Communities home page in PDF and
>> HTML formats.

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