[Haskell-cafe] Re: Haskell in Industry

wren ng thornton wren at freegeek.org
Tue Aug 10 14:56:06 EDT 2010

Henning Thielemann wrote:
> about functional programming jobs in investment banking ...
> Ketil Malde schrieb:
>> Tom Hawkins <tomahawkins at gmail.com> writes:
>>> (Yes, I realize that's were the money is [...])
>> Exactly.
>> I don't think this is bad: having talented people recruited to work
>> on functional programming will improve the technology for all of us.
> I'm not sure I follow this opinion in general. Analogously I could say:
> Supporting military is a good idea, since they invest in new
> technologies. That's not my opinion. Maybe the next financial crisis
> leads us into the next world war.

But that analogy is a bit disingenuous. If investment bankers care so 
much about performance (because a few milliseconds delay in transactions 
can cost a lot) then getting a lot of talented functional programmers in 
finance means there will be a good deal of work in figuring out how to 
improve performance. Thus, anyone who wants performance will benefit 
directly; regardless of attendant outcomes.

While the military invests in technology, they invest mainly in 
technology that advances a particular goal. Thus, it's good for them to 
have smart people if you would like improvements to that particular kind 
of technology. (Which includes the Internet and natural language 
processing ---for very militaristic reasons, both of them---, as well as 
the obvious.) Investment banking isn't likely to lead to improvements in 
zygohistomorphic prepromorphisms. If that's where you think we need to 
be improving our technology, then having smart people in investment 
banking doesn't help. But that's a different claim than the claim that 
they'd improve performance or overall acceptance in the job market.

Live well,

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