Blog - lisp

Learning Lisp (1)

Wed Aug 2 21:01:16 BST 2006

Learning Lisp has been on my to-do list ever since I read "The Art of Unix Programming" by ESR. Probably even before that, when I realized that most of the power of Mathematica comes from the functional programming aspects. The ability to define higher order functions that act on complex objects rather than just different types of data is empowering. Once I became aware of functional programming I started with Ocaml, a dialect of ML (Meta Language - originally used to write proof proving systems). Ocaml is great because it is strongly typed and the language itself checks that the program obeys the typing. This means that many errors are detected at compile time rather than run time, speeding up the debugging process (see the SPARK programming language for the logical extension of this process to a language that is very robust due to the enforcement of information flow constraints at compile time, but this is another entry). (...)

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