[Pdx-pm] Lisp class

Michael G Schwern schwern at pobox.com
Sun May 1 01:01:32 PDT 2005

Thus spake Randal Lucas
> I will soon have surpassed that age at which Paul Graham asserts one
> must have learned Common Lisp or have missed one's chance.

The idea what one must learn big, new ideas before a certain age when your
brain meats harden and become forever crystalized against new ideas like
some sort of Magic Shell sundae topping is, imo, a load of crap.

That said, I think what to pull out of Paul Graham's Lisp assertion is not
so much about Lisp persay but about functional programming.  You should
learn it.  Its a whole new (actually rather old) way of looking at 
programming much like OO is different from procedural.  But it doesn't
have to be Lisp.  Recently Haskell [1] has gotten a lot of attention and 
unlike Lisp it reflects up-to-date functional programming theory and seems
to have solved many of the traditional programming pains of functional code.

More importantly Pugs [2], the prototype Perl 6 interpreter, is being 
written in Haskell.  You can learn Haskell and still keep generally within 
the same community as Perl and work on Perl 6 all at the same time!  There's 
bushels of low hanging fruit in Pugs such that anyone with a few weeks 
(hell, days) of Haskell under their belt can start doing some patching.
I believe the Pugs folks recommend "The Haskell School of Expression" or
"Algorithms: A Functional Progamming Approach" as well as the online "Yet 
Another Haskell Tutorial".

Finally, to shamelessly plug Curtis' talk this month, he will be speaking on
Prolog which is a representative of yet another entirely different way of
programming: logic programming.

[1] haskell.org/learning
[2] pugscode.org

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