[plt-scheme] Re: Why "lambda"?

From: Richard Cleis (rcleis at mac.com)
Date: Fri Jun 5 16:52:13 EDT 2009

On Jun 5, 2009, at 2:03 PM, Grant Rettke wrote:

> On Mon, Jun 1, 2009 at 5:01 PM, Richard Cleis<rcleis at mac.com> wrote:
>> I view my own career that way, but I believe more influence from  
>> academia
>> would have benefitted me greatly.  After a few decades of writing  
>> software,
>> I do not even want to look at much of my wonderful things (they  
>> truly are
>> wonderful, in my most humble opinion) much less work on them... or  
>> explain
>> to others how to rewrite them (my emerging #1 task) :)
>> Greek symbols do not gain popularity outside of the Tex/Mathematica/ 
>> etc
>> world because we cannot comfortably apply them in most computing
>> environments ... or email, for that matter.  Even though we all  
>> have unicode
>> email, how many times did Greek letters show up in this thread?
> When I read use cases; rather than see:
> "Physical object / Dwelling / Manufactured Item / Ship / Vehicle /  
> Road Vehicle"
> copied and pasted TWELVE times on a single page, I wouldn't mind
> seeing a symbol or some sort of shorthand to represent it. I wonder
> what the business would find acceptable.

Short answer: a single work could be assigned to that description.

The closest the business world seems to get to symbols is: QTY  
(statistics departments notwithstanding.)  Most of business could  
probably be handled with a few dozen greek symbols, but the lack of  
general symbol capability in development environments would require  
programmers to represent them in some other manner anyway (like your  
example.)  In my case, I learned to apply engineering, physics, and  
programming via programs... programs written with words, not symbols,  
because the programming environments did not support them.  My  
colleagues sometimes think I am 'blowing them off' when I tell them  
that I have no equations for my implementations; they were developed  
as programs, not implementations of equations.  What a difference it  
would have made if I could have used standard symbols in the  
programs!  Wolfram has done well at addressing this issue, but a  
thousand pound (er, dollar) gorilla is not required for the basic  
problem of universal representation.


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