[Haskell-cafe] In what language...?

Gregory Collins greg at gregorycollins.net
Mon Oct 25 17:36:47 EDT 2010

Andrew Coppin <andrewcoppin at btinternet.com> writes:
> On 15/10/2010 09:42 PM, Gregory Collins wrote:
>> It's pretty garden-variety programming language/type theory.
> Hypothesis: The fact that the average Haskeller thinks that this kind of dense
> cryptic material is "pretty garden-variety" notation possibly explains why
> normal people think Haskell is scary.

That's ridiculous. You're comparing apples to oranges: using Haskell and
understanding the underlying theory are two completely different
things. Put it to you this way: a mechanic can strip apart and rebuild
an engine without knowing any of the organic chemistry which explains
how and why the catalytic converter works. If you work for Ford, on the
other hand...

P.S. I did my computer science graduate work in type theory, so I may
not be an "average Haskeller" in those terms. By "garden-variety" I
meant to say that the concepts, notation, and vocabulary are pretty
standard for the field, and I had no trouble reading it despite not
having seriously read a type theory paper in close to a decade.

>> I can recommend Benjamin Pierce's "Types and Programming Languages"
>> textbook for an introduction to the material:
>> http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/tapl/
> If I were to somehow obtain this book, would it actually make any
> sense whatsoever? I've read too many maths books which assume you
> already know truckloads of stuff, and utterly fail to make sense until
> you do. (Also, being a somewhat famous book, it's presumably extremely
> expensive...)

Introductory type theory is usually taught in computer science cirricula
at a 3rd or 4th year undergraduate level. If you understand some
propositional logic and discrete mathematics, then "probably yes",
otherwise "probably not."

Gregory Collins <greg at gregorycollins.net>

More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list