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[Axiom-developer] Re: Embedding Axiom (Hickey and fold/unfold) Folding a

From: Tim Daly
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Re: Embedding Axiom (Hickey and fold/unfold) Folding and generalization
Date: Sat, 21 Nov 2009 21:07:13 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20090302)

Martin Baker wrote:

Thank you for these replies, I am learning a lot here.

Yeah, Hickey is really an insightful chap. He sets the bar pretty high.

Many centuries ago I had to make the transition from using goto in general
to using goto in a structured form (Fortran did not have an else clause on If). The hard part was the mental shift needed to do "structured programming" since I had to discover the correct, disciplined control structures myself. There were
no textbooks as it was a "new" idea that unstructured goto was bad.

Now Hickey basically said "do not use loops". Hmmm... that's gonna be another stretch, although I see why he suggests it and I agree with him. We have to learn to
use map/fold/take/etc. in disciplined ways to process Axiom's internal data.

And we need "reconsing" versions that return immutable but shared copies of the
list/vector/struct/etc., with versions that (per On Lisp) embed properly.

And we need to write in pure function form (not a stretch because I try to
do this now).

And we need (per SICP) to write embedded layering, fully factored forms.

I think all of these ideas will greatly benefit Axiom's internal restructuring,
including possibly making a parallel implementation much easier to achieve.
If nothing else at least the "coupling" will drop considerably as we stop using
special variables for maintaining mutable global state.


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