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Re: [Axiom-developer] Lisp

From: Bill Page
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Lisp
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2008 20:44:47 -0500

On 3/3/08, William Sit wrote:
> As I read your quoted passage and comments, it occurs
> to me (disclaimer: I am not a language expert, so take
> my comments with a large grain of salt) that the even
> more important statement to be emphasized is:
> "We can layer these languages on top of each other
>  and create a language for writing web-based trading
> applications"
> where instead of "trading" we can replace it with Axiom
> or mathematical.

Yes, I agree with you completely!

>  After all I find that each category and domain in Axiom
> is a DSL (domain specific language) that the founders
> "layer these languages on top of each other to create a
> language" for new DSLs.

I think would should distinguish a new "language" from simply
extending a language by inventing new data types to a library,
otherwise the concept of a domain-specific language becomes rather

> That is what contributed to Axiom's problem solving
> power in mathematics. The underlyling lisp is just
> the foundation that allows the bootstrap and maybe
> streamlining some foundational operations. Lisp is of
> course important, but I imagine if there were a Tim-twin
> who favors another foundational language other than lisp,
> Axiom could be built on that as well.

Yes, I agree.

> (In some way, FOAM can be considered as one such
> foundational language for Aldor.)

Usually FOAM would be considered a kind of "Abstract
Machine". This term is also often applied to Lisp. In fact
as you know Lisp was once used as the model for a real
machine (actually implemented in microcode).

>  But as a simple user of Axiom, the most important
> thing for me is that "it works."

Personally I really wish that that were true, but all of my experience
with Axiom over the last few years demonstrates to me that using Axiom
is still really rather difficult - too difficult for most people. I
think Axiom has some very good ideas, some of which have not yet
really found their way into other more modern languages, but the gap
has narrowed considerably in the last few years. And now there is a
very active computer algebra project called Sage doing almost all of
the things that would really be worth doing in Axiom, in Python

Bill Page.

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