[Haskell-cafe] Comments from OCaml Hacker Brian Hurt

Steve Schafer steve at fenestra.com
Thu Jan 15 17:06:41 EST 2009

On Thu, 15 Jan 2009 13:21:57 -0800, you wrote:

>Where, in the history of western civilization, has there ever been an
>engineering discipline whose adherents were permitted to remain ignorant
>of the basic mathematical terminology and methodology that their
>enterprise is founded on?

Umm, all of them?

>No one may be a structural engineer, and remain ignorant of physics.  No
>one may be a chemical engineer, and remain ignorant of chemistry.  Why
>on earth should any one be permitted to be a software engineer, and
>remain ignorant of computing science?

Do you know any actual working structural or chemical engineers? Most
engineering disciplines require a basic grasp of the underlying theory,
yes, but not much beyond that. Pretty much everything else is covered by
rules (either rules of thumb or published standards).

Show me an electrical engineer who can explain the physics of a pn
junction and how it acts as a rectifier, or a civil engineer who can
explain why the stress/strain curve of a steel beam has the shape that
it does, or a chemical engineer who can explain molecular orbital
theory. Those kinds of engineers do exist, of course, but they are few
and far between. If you aim your product only at the kinds of engineers
who _can_ do those things, you will be reaching a tiny, tiny fraction of
the overall population.

Steve Schafer
Fenestra Technologies Corp.

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