[plt-scheme] Re: Poacher turned gamekeeper

From: krhari at ccs.neu.edu (krhari at ccs.neu.edu)
Date: Tue Nov 10 12:12:10 EST 2009

I had a interesting experience last week... My brother who is doing his PhD(Mechanical) in UIUC had a presentation to give in his research group meeting... He uses a lot of MatLab... And he was struggling to do some simulation... He discussed it with me and I suggested  that I will try it with PLT Scheme. Initially he had lot of doubts about it as he had never heard of Scheme but I insisted and he gave me a small data series and I came up with a simulation and he liked it. Then he asked me if I could implement the  actual equations. He had 10-12 of them. I implemented it and gave him the actual code. He was very happy as the animation was exactly as he had imagined. And told me he understood the code very easily... He never asked me any questions.

In his meeting when he showed the animation to his group, he told me that a couple of other PhD students and a Professor were really very happy with the animation and the simplicity of the code and they wanted to learn PLT and asked him for study material for PLT Scheme. I pointed them to many tutorials that were mentioned in the older posts here...

I think no one had any FP background there(at least not my brother). And they liked it without Gambit so I don't know they might love Gambit more... But it worked here without Gambit or Bigloo... Just thought of sharing it...

----- Original Message -----
From: "Philippos Apolinarius" <phi500ac at yahoo.ca>
To: plt-scheme at list.cs.brown.edu
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 8:27:46 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: [plt-scheme] Re: Poacher turned gamekeeper

I often wonder why all Schemes don't have something like Gambit-C SIX syntax. After all, the the traditional syntax would still be available, if one needs or prefer it. One needs the traditional syntax to do things like genetic programming, neural networks or macros. One may often prefer it. There are people who cannot swallow Lisp prefix syntax. I have shown Lisp, PLT and Bigloo to many people who uses tools like Mathlab. I always succeed in making them accetp Lisp. Here is what I do: 

1 --- If the person needs a lot of math and computer algebra, I compile Maxima on SBCL to make it very fast. In fact, it becomes as fast as Lisp itself. People are amazed at the possibility of doing the same thing that they were doing in Matlab, and using similar syntax. 

2 --- If the person works with network, Internet etc. I try to sell them Scheme. I discovered that it is much easier to sell them Bigloo and Gambit, that have an infix syntax than PLT or Larceny. 

Since providing an infix syntax seems to be very easy, I wonder why this does not become official. As far as infix syntax goes, I have a few complaints to file against the existing ones. 

1 --- SIX requires one to declare types. People with a Matlab background finds it annoying. 

2 --- Maxima adds a lot of annotations to the prefix representation of the infix syntax. I am not sure, but I believe that this may slow processing. 

3 --- Bigloo requires the presence of the bigloorc file at every point where one launches the interpreter. If the programmer forgets the bigloorc file, goodbie infix syntax. 

I am sure that all the above problems can be easily fixed. 

--- On Tue, 11/10/09, Matthias Felleisen <matthias at ccs.neu.edu> wrote: 

From: Matthias Felleisen <matthias at ccs.neu.edu> 
Subject: Re: [plt-scheme] Re: Poacher turned gamekeeper 
To: "wooks" <wookiz at hotmail.com> 
Cc: plt-scheme at list.cs.brown.edu 
Received: Tuesday, November 10, 2009, 6:00 AM 

On Nov 10, 2009, at 2:51 AM, wooks wrote: 

> As I said, there will be a 2nd course in OOP and at the moment I am 
> scheduled to take that. The simple answer to objectors is that they'll 
> do Java next term (although I am tempted to do it in Python). 

I am about to teach this in PLT for the first time. I'll point to lecture notes when I have them. -- Matthias 

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