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Languages for Smart People

Eric Blossom of GNU Radio is a funny, enthusiastic speaker. During a recent talk he made an aside about the Erlang programming language, and called it, "One of those languages for smart people." It's what's called a functional programming language, one that doesn't tell the computer what to do but rather describes a situation in terms of relationships, and more-or-less leaves it up to the computer to figure out precisely how to solve the problem. It's a radically different way of thinking, involving higher levels of abstraction --- but in Blossom's words it gives a language "serious leverage" and makes it possible to do things that would otherwise be almost impossible.

And it reminds me of the 1949 Robert A. Heinlein science-fiction story "Gulf" wherein a special super-efficient language called Speedtalk lets a secret society of clever people think even faster and better. Probably impossible, of course; if it could be done it likely would have already evolved, since it would give such a huge advantage to those who learned it. Alas, humans may have already almost maxed-out their current hardware ...

(cf. ThinkingToolsGoals (1999-04-09), MentalBandwidthBoosters (1999-06-26), StrandsOfTruth (2000-11-02), PartingAdvice (2006-06-21), HigherLevelLanguage (2007-08-17), ...) - ^z - 2008-03-12

(correlates: MarryTheOne, 4 Comments on HigherLevelLanguage, KiloPixAndMegaWords, ...)