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Re: CPS in Parrot (was: A plea for a new old language)
At 3:22 PM -0400 8/5/03, Geoffrey Knauth wrote:
>On Tuesday, Aug 5, 2003, at 13:00 US/Eastern, Dan Sugalski wrote:
>>I'm convinced at this point that all of the fear people have about
>>continuations is a direct result of how they're taught and what's
>>associated with them
>I haven't feared what I don't know. I'm afraid to ask, "What's
>associated with them?"
Lisp and/or Scheme, though the way the design of computer languages
is taught (or, rather, not taught, until far too late) doesn't help.
The only place continuations are brought up, assuming they're dealt
with at all, is in a Lisp class, but not until the students have
already had a number of years (upwards of 5-10 for some) of
procedural and/or OO programming (C, C++, VB, even Java to some
extent), which hammers some assumptions about the intrinsic
stack-based nature of control-flow into students heads.
So, they walk into a lisp class with either the C model or the BASIC
"They're all globals!" model deeply internalized, then get hit in
rapid succession by Lisp's very different paradigm then a control
flow and variable model completely at odds with what they know to be
true. You then end up with a class full of people that either dislike
continuations because they clash with what they know to be true about
control and/or variables, or dislike continuations because lisp
clashes with what they know and any concepts introduced with it get
disliked by association. (Or they never understood it in the first
place because they couldn't get past the confusion of dealing with a
functional language, so everything explained in terms of the language
It doesn't help that many of the folks publicly advocating
continuations tend to be a little... odd, so when you do run across a
paper or proposal, your first impression is that the author's either
mad or doing the CS equivalent of particle physics.
Not true for everyone, certainly -- a lot of people never get taught
anything about continuations, and all they know about them is that
most folks think they're Deep Black Magic.
--------------------------------------"it's like this"-------------------
Dan Sugalski even samurai
firstname.lastname@example.org have teddy bears and even
teddy bears get drunk