22 December 2012

The APL of My Eye

When I found R, I found an artifact of a language I dabbled in decades ago (the use of <- for assignment). That language is APL (A Programming Language, by Iverson). Turns out that I'm not the only, or first, to notice this connection. An older post from the folks at Revolution Analytics. I actually had my hands on a real APL keyboard, lo those many days ago. APL is still around, but I don't know about the keyboards.

Reading through the wiki piece, the similarity between the matrix operation paradigm of APL and the set operations of the RM came to mind once again. Turns out Codd wrote this paper on using the two together.

And there were the legendary one liner contests:
There were soon contests to see who could find a one-line version of an algorithm previously thought to require many. Sometimes this improved clarity. Sometimes it had the opposite effect, and brevity trumped readability.

The point was about the same as Obfuscated C contests, I suppose.

RStudio maps alt- to <-, so it's no burden.

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