[Haskell-cafe] Time for a new logo?
Ross Mellgren
rmm-haskell at z.odi.ac
Tue Dec 16 10:34:24 EST 2008
It does require a mathematical mind, but does not require that you
understand the mathematical language. If mathematics are the basis of
computation, and programming is an implementation of computation, then
in many ways programming languages are a (less powerful) equivalent
language to the language of mathematics as applied to computation.
I've been professionally programming for many years, and did it as a
hobby since I was very young. I'm not going to say that I'm some kind
of super programmer or anything, but I have had a decent amount of
programming experience in a variety of languages. That said, Haskell
vexed and threw me off for a couple years before I finally sat down
and tried to "pull aside" the curtain of mathematics terms that were
(for me) obscuring how to use Haskell.
Once I sat down with a ton of examples and just plodded through a
bunch of research papers (it seems like all the "fun" features in
Haskell are only described in research papers ;-) ) I saw how what I
knew from the other programming languages I knew was doable in Haskell
and it increased my understanding, where I can now kind-of maybe
understand what those papers are talking about by relating it to how
the compiler will implement the code.
Of course, now that I get it, Haskell is my favorite compiled language
hands-down. It was just a much longer steeper learning curve because I
had to learn it and the terms used to describe it simultaneously
rather than having a leg up on either from knowing other programming
languages.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think that the goal with a language
should necessarily be to attract as many people as possible, but don't
you feel bad for those poor sots who don't understand how bad off the
mainstream of Java, C++, etc is? ;-)
Just my 2 cents as a non-math-learned programmer.
-Ross
On Dec 16, 2008, at 7:12 AM, Malcolm Wallace wrote:
> Andrew Coppin <andrewcoppin at btinternet.com> wrote:
>
>> To him, apparently, the current logo says "Haskell is all
>> about arcane and obscure mathematical constructs. In fact, we think
>> that complicated mathematics is so good that we stuffed our logo
>> full
>> of it. If you don't like hard math, don't even bother trying to
>> learn
>> this language."
>
> I think he got the right idea (kind of). To him, mathematics is
> arcane,
> but to Haskellers it is the fundamental basis of computation. If
> someone is not prepared to invest in learning the foundations of the
> subject of Computer Science, then they have no business becoming a
> programmer. Would you want someone who disdains mathematics to be
> responsible for designing the physical aerodynamics of aircraft? Then
> why would you permit them to program the control software that will
> fly
> it?
>
> We really must get away from the idea that programming is something
> any
> old fool should be able to pick up. Programming correct software is
> hard, and it requires a mathematical mind.
>
> Regards,
> Malcolm
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