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

From: Shriram Krishnamurthi (sk at cs.brown.edu)
Date: Wed May 27 09:47:48 EDT 2009

wooks, you're sort of wasting your breath.

We write all sorts of material.  If you look at how Matthias and
Matthew present operational semantics, it'll look "all Greek" to you.
If you look at my programming languages text, you'll find little to no
Greek, and what Greek there is I carefully teach you how to read
assuming you have no knowledge at all of how to do so.

Remember, we're writing for several audiences.  My book is for the
undergrad who probably won't go on to further study; the "Greek" there
is is there for those who do intend to take on further training.  The
operational semantics material is primarily intended to train graduate
students.  You could argue it's chicken-and-egg: if you write it that
way, then only the graduate students will be able to use it.  Either
way, you can't survive as a graduate student in programming languages
without being able to read and write "Greek".

Unlike some other academic groups, we do want to reach a variety of
audiences, not only other academics.  That's why we write in several
forms, to reach these different audiences.

By the way, these complaints are more credible coming from someone who
*has* mastered the topic (in this case, notation) and can then show
how to present it differently/better.  That's how it's always worked
in mathematics (just as one random example, Newtonian vs Leibnitzian
notations for calculus).


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