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Re: [Axiom-developer] Terms of Surrender (was: BAD tim)

From: Karl Hegbloom
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Terms of Surrender (was: BAD tim)
Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2005 00:00:26 -0800

On Thu, 2005-11-03 at 22:16 -0500, Bill Page wrote:
> And if by "knowing lisp" you mean knowing the concepts on which lisp
> is based, then I would be surprised to find many undergraduate
> computer science students who did not have at least one
> programming course which included at least an introduction
> to lisp. (Maybe my experience here is too out of date?)

I wish that more colleges would introduce Computer Programming using the
Scheme language, rather than C++.  is a great
textbook and it would be great to see more schools using it.  "Structure
and Interpretation of Computer Programs" is also one of my number one
favorites.  Lisp is at the heart of all programming languages, if only
in spirit.

> 3) Where possible and practical, replace Boot code with Spad
>    code as in Dick Jenks original vision instead of Lisp. Surely
>    you are not going to argue that Spad is a "dead language"
>    written by fewer than 10 surviving programmers? And even if
>    that happens to be true ;), that is one thing that we are
>    trying hard to change, right?

Don't give up on that.  It might take several years of study before I
can understand it very well.  At this point in time, I plan to study the
Axiom system in the future.  I'd like to learn more about how it works.

I have been using it from inside of GNU TeXmacs, which I'm sure you must
be familiar with.  I think it's a great interface, and could certainly
be developed into something even better.  Have you tried the TeXmacs
style file editing mode?  It's mathematics mode?

I think it would be really cool to port Axiom from 'noweb' to a TeXmacs
based literate programming system of some kind.  There is at least one
person on the TeXmacs users and/or development mailing list who has
mentioned this idea in the past.  Since TeXmacs keeps the document in a
tree form, it makes me ponder... what if an Axiom language, a descendant
of Spad or Aldor, was written especially for the TeXmacs environment,
utilizing a tree-form that encapsulates the semantics, not just the
appearance as type-set, of an expression --- something like the two
forms of MathML --- was created?  It could be semi-graphical, using an
evolved mathematical notation[1] maybe with some lines and arrows...
circles and arrows and an explanation on the back of each one.

[1]: There is a good discussion of some of the ambiguities to be found
in traditional mathematical notation in ;
also, the author of the ASTER system, which can read mathematics to the
blind, has learned some lessons re parsing TeX into a more semantically
relevant form.

Karl Hegbloom <address@hidden>

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