[Haskell-cafe] strict version of Haskell - does it exist?

Gregory Collins greg at gregorycollins.net
Tue Jan 31 22:22:08 CET 2012

On Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 9:19 PM, Steve Severance
<sseverance at alphaheavy.com>wrote:

> The other thing is that deepseq is very important . IMHO this needs to be
> a first class language feature with all major libraries shipping with
> deepseq instances. There seems to have been some movement on this front but
> you can't do serious parallel development without it.

I completely agree on the first part, but deepseq is not a panacea either.
It's a big hammer and overuse can sometimes cause wasteful O(n) no-op
traversals of already-forced data structures. I also definitely wouldn't go
so far as to say that you can't do serious parallel development without it!

The only real solution to problems like these is a thorough understanding
of Haskell's evaluation order, and how and why call-by-need is different
than call-by-value. This is both a pedagogical problem and genuinely hard
-- even Haskell experts like the guys at GHC HQ sometimes spend a lot of
time chasing down space leaks. Haskell makes a trade-off here; reasoning
about denotational semantics is much easier than in most other languages
because of purity, but non-strict evaluation makes reasoning about
operational semantics a little bit harder.

In domains where you care a lot about operational semantics (like parallel
and concurrent programming, where it's absolutely critical), programmers
necessarily require a lot more experience and knowledge in order to be
effective in Haskell.

Gregory Collins <greg at gregorycollins.net>
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