[plt-scheme] Re: A Couple of Questions on DrScheme/Mzscheme

From: Jens Axel Søgaard (jensaxel at soegaard.net)
Date: Mon Sep 30 17:10:09 EDT 2002

Shriram wrote:
> Matthias Felleisen wrote:
> > Why do professors in mathematical disciplines not use Scheme?
> I have a theory about "math people" that is slightly different
> (not mutually exclusive).  Some mathematicians I know approach CS as
> an explicitly distinct activity than mathematics.  What defines this
> new activity?  Something about machines, states, state change ... so
> they gravitate naturally towards languages like Pascal, because they
> appear to best capture what's distinctive about CS.

Strange. I am a math major and have CS as a minor. The courses I enjoyed
most was the compiler course[1] and the course in semantics[2]. This is in
contrast to all the CS majors, who mostly hated semantics [3].

The courses opened my eyes for programming in the functional style and
Scheme in particular. In my eyes the functional way approach is more "math
and thus more appealing.

In conclusion: I would put more more money on Felleisen's theory :-)

/Jens Axel

[1] Danvy. We wrote a small Scheme compiler in C. Fun.

[2] Danvy lectured about ML programming. It has slipped
     my mind who did the theory.

[3] They were third year students and needed the course.
     I took semantics after my M.Sc.[4] and was therefore more
     trained in understanding new syntax and proof techniques,
     and could concentrate on the ideas.

[4] All teachers in Danish high schools (now) is forced to study
    1/2 year more on their minor. Since 1 (one) student takes CS
     this way a year. I was free to pick three courses, and took
     semantics as one of them.

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