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Re: Functional Paradigm popularity and Maths (Was: XML as a transition to s-expr)

Quoth Ash Searle:
> I think an interesting and possibly unrelated question may be:
> If you could take a virgin programmer (of unknown mathematical ability),
>     which programming paradigm would you teach them first?  And, why?

Functional; if they really have had no programming experience, they can
get up-and-running much faster in functional style.  There's just not as
many core concepts they need to understand to get started (variables,
mutations, strings; they don't even need to understand functions at the
very start, though that's more due to the REPL than anything else).  In
addition, if Scheme is the functional language in question, they have
negligible syntax to learn to get started.

> Is it easier to move from procedural to object to functional, or from
> funcional to object and possibly never touch procedural at all?

Hard to give an objective answer, as you say, but I suspect that the
actual cognitive cost of learning the new paradigm is small in *either*
direction; we think of the functional->procedural jump as "easy" because
it's _just_ a paradigm shift, whereas the procedural->functional shift
is "hard" because in addition to the paradigm shift, there are often
programming concepts like recursion that need to be (re(ally))learned.

-=-Don Blaheta-=-=-dpb@cs.brown.edu-=-=-<http://www.cs.brown.edu/~dpb/>-=-
"Y'know, DMT is produced in a small but measurable amount in the human
brain. Should we make brains illegal as well? I know they won't be
missed over at the DEA."				--Sam Walker