[plt-scheme] Great books on algorithms?

From: Marco Morazan (morazanm at gmail.com)
Date: Thu Nov 8 09:32:31 EST 2007

On 11/8/07, Grant Rettke <grettke at acm.org> wrote:
> On Nov 8, 2007 7:12 AM, Shriram Krishnamurthi <sk at cs.brown.edu> wrote:
> >   Let's keep in mind the bunch that will go beyond to take a job and
> >   need such languages as Java.
> I'm trying to understand *their* argument, and not preach to the choir.
> How is learning Scheme an impediment to learning any other language?

The arguments I have heard over the years are:

  -- Functional langauges, like Scheme, are too abstract for students
(especially beginners)
  -- Nobody uses functional languages in the "real world"
  -- Students can't get jobs if they learn Scheme
  -- Programming in Scheme requires too much recursion
  -- etc.

Let me be clear, this is what I have been told by others. I still can
not connect the dots as to how any of the above is connected to the
truth or to how it is an impediment to learning another PL. Mind you,
I squirm when I use the phrase "learn another programming language." I
am strongly in the camp that one (ought) to learn to program. One does
not need to learn a programming language (which judging from the
textbooks out there means learning the syntax of a specific language).

> It is a particularly poor argument as it seems to me that Scheme
> exposes you to the essence of computation within a general purpose
> programming language.
> Have you ever seen any ideas within a language other than Scheme that
> you couldn't implement/express within Scheme?

I agree. Some things are easier in other langauges (e.g. inheritance,
the explicit use of types, and monads), but I find Scheme an excellent
vehicle to learn programming and to program in.



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