[plt-scheme] Re: Programming for non-programmers

From: Richard Cleis (rcleis at mac.com)
Date: Thu Oct 14 15:56:28 EDT 2004

On Thursday, October 14, 2004, at 12:10PM, Jeanie Kozar <jeaniek7 at comcast.net> wrote:

>What do you mean by "lightweight" languages?  

I am just using the term of the Lightweight Languages Conferences.  The meaning of the term depends on the context.  In my case, PLT-scheme is easily embedded into C and is easily extended to contain C.  Scheme can also be written to behave has another language.  These points and many others do not apply to C++, Fortran, etc.  I will stop commenting on this subject before being trounced by those who can answer your question more rigorously.

>I find it terribly depressing
>that people with CS degrees have had no exposure to functional languages.
>Don't these schools teach comparative language courses any more?  When I was
>in school such a course was mandatory; it covered Fortran, Algol, Lisp and
>APL;  terribly old-fashioned now, but they pretty well covered the spectrum
>of language styles (imperative/functional/rule-based, paralleling the
>automata/recursive-function/production-system models of computation).

Most have a few units of functional programming stuck in the lint of their back pocket, but they don't take it seriously.  I am not depressed by it; it was just a sign of the times.  Was it possible ten years ago to find a webpage with an R5RS-engine implemented in Java?  The programmers I work with desire such instant gratification to be convinced of legitimacy.

>What sort of lab are you at?  I've been trying to figure out how to get into
>a scientific investigation environment where I might be able to combine my
>skills and interests.  Your descriptiuon certainly piques my interest, and
>the idea of getting to use lisp or scheme is mighty attractive.  I have a BS
>in math and physics, and a MS in computer science (I hate that misnomer -- 
>it should be computing science).  I've been out of school for a number of
>years; I've worked with hard scientists and engineers, mathematicians,
>semiconductor designers, and done some computing R&D (you know, last
>funded/first cut).

I work at the sort of lab that has been insisting that I hire more people.  Please email me if you have any interest in living in New Mexico and are interseted in telescopes, lasers, cameras, etc.  Oh... we also write a LOT of software for conducting experiments, but almost all of it is C/C++.  A few of us are trying to change that. 

>I hope you don't find this intrusive, but I just couldn't step away without
>responding.  Thanks for your patience,

> -- Bill Wood
>    bill.wood at acm.org
>----- Original Message ----- 
>From: "Richard Cleis" <rcleis at mac.com>
>To: "PLT Scheme" <plt-scheme at list.cs.brown.edu>
>Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2004 11:29 PM
>Subject: Re: [plt-scheme] Re: Programming for non-programmers
>>   For list-related administrative tasks:
>>   http://list.cs.brown.edu/mailman/listinfo/plt-scheme
>> What about 'Programming for experienced programmers?'  I work with
>> eight other programmers (in a science laboratory); none of them have
>> any experience with any lightweight languages or functional languages
>> (all have computer-science or computer-engineering degrees).  I have
>> only been able to convince two people the value of scheme or python or
>> anything 'out of the box', but all remain entrenched in C++.
>> I doubt that force-feeding them servings from a Cookbook will change
>> matters; what should I do?  I easily convinced our resident astronomy
>> professor that we need to start some seminars, but what should we
>> present that will generate genuine interest in Scheme... to experienced
>> programmers?
>> rac
>> On Oct 13, 2004, at 9:14 AM, Matthias Felleisen wrote:
>> >  For list-related administrative tasks:
>> >  http://list.cs.brown.edu/mailman/listinfo/plt-scheme
>> >
>> >
>> > On Oct 13, 2004, at 10:08 AM, Arctic Fidelity wrote:
>> >
>> >> Programming is just another name for the lost art of thinking.
>> >
>> > This is the best way of putting things. Well said and thanks.
>> >
>> >> People are quite capable of thinking, but they do not. If they are
>> >> taught how to think, they are also taught how to program, and vice
>> >> versa. It is simply a necessity that people learn to program, it is
>> >> part of a liberal education.
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > -- Matthias
>> >

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