[TYPES] the possibly uselessness of semantics, was -- The type/object distinction and possible synthesis of OOP and imperative programming languages

Jason Wilkins jason.a.wilkins at gmail.com
Mon Apr 22 08:35:49 EDT 2013

It was implied that the designers of C++ are not using the abstract
mathematical tools provided by research, but that simply isn't true.
 Making tractable extensions to C++'s generic programming capabilities
requires solid theory and the guys down the hall from me here at Texas A&M
simply blow my mind with the kinds of things they are working on.

On Sat, Apr 20, 2013 at 4:35 PM, Uday S Reddy <u.s.reddy at cs.bham.ac.uk>wrote:

> [ The Types Forum, http://lists.seas.upenn.edu/mailman/listinfo/types-list]
> Avik Chaudhuri writes:
> >     I would happily endorse these ideas.  In fact, this is what I think
> >     would constitute "applied PL research": understanding, evaluating,
> >     critiquing, and shepherding new programming languages, which I
> believe
> >     will necessarily come from outside our community because it is the
> >     application develepors who understand best where the needs are for
> new
> >     languages.
> >
> > I humbly contest this position. It is not the responsibility of others to
> > pick up ideas from "our community" and apply it to the "real languages."
> > At least some of us should (and do) devote enough time to popularize
> these
> > ideas. We desperately need more people like this:
> > http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/.
> Perhaps I didn't express myself very clearly.  I meant to say that
> interesting new languages will necessarily come from outside our community.
> But *we* should engage with them as part of our "applied PL research" to
> understand, analyze, critique and perhaps help their language designs.
> A strong example that comes to my mind is Dijkstra's efforts during the
> DoD's requisitioning for the language that eventually became Ada.  Dijkstra
> closely studied all the DoD requirements and every language proposal that
> was submitted, and critiqued them.  His critiques were published in SIGPLAN
> Notices and should be available in the ACM Digital Library (as well as the
> EWD collections).  Even though you might think this was a rather negative
> form of engagement, it was still useful for the world to understand how
> programming language principles impact or should impact programming
> language
> design.
> I am also happy to recollect an oft-repeated aphorism of John Reynolds:
> "Programming language semanticists should be the obstetricians of
> programming languages, not their coroners."
> Cheers,
> Uday

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