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

Johan Tibell johan.tibell at gmail.com
Tue Jan 31 22:38:26 CET 2012

On Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 1:22 PM, Gregory Collins
<greg at gregorycollins.net> wrote:
> 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!

I agree. The only time I ever use deepseq is in Criterion benchmarks,
as it's a convenient way to make sure that the input data is evaluated
before the benchmark starts. If you want a data structure to be fully
evaluated, evaluate it as it's created, not after the fact.

> 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.


We can do a much better job at teaching how to reason about
performance. A few rules of thumb gets you a long way. I'm (slowly)
working on improving the state of affairs here.

-- Johan

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