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Re: what most every language is missing :-)

At 3:22 PM -0500 3/28/03, Guy Steele - Sun Microsystems Labs wrote:
>    Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2003 10:36:56 -0600
>    From: Trevis Rothwell <tjr@acm.org>
>    To: Noel Welsh <noelwelsh@yahoo.com>, ll1-discuss@ai.mit.edu
>    Subject: Re: what most every language is missing  :-)
>    Maybe if instead of giving a definite "true", it would work like
>    this:
>   	schrodinger's-cat =? dead -> "hmmm...  could be..."
>    and
>   	schrodinger's-cat =? alive -> "hmmm...  could be..."
>    Either way, is there a semantic difference between saying "the cat
>    might be alive" and "the cat might not be alive"?  Certainly the
>    first one sounds more positive and the second one more negative,
>    but is there an actual difference?
>There can be.  Suppose you are doing evaluation with
>a possible-world semantics, so that the value of
>an expression is actually the *set* of possible
>values that the expression might take on under a
>"normal" semantics.

With more interesting systems it can also be used as a spot to split 
the execution stream and assign weights to the new streams, deferring 
final evaluation of the results until you've enough information, or 
have reached a stopping point and have to generate some random 
numbers, to collapse the system to a final result.

The only problem with that approach, though, is that taken to its 
logical conclusion you get Quantum INTERCAL, and I'm not sure anyone 
really wants that.

--------------------------------------"it's like this"-------------------
Dan Sugalski                          even samurai
dan@sidhe.org                         have teddy bears and even
                                       teddy bears get drunk