2009-02-12

math syntax & computer language syntax

2009-01-22

Rhodri James wrote:
> > Computer languages are not human languages, but computer language
> > constructs do attempt to map onto human language constructs to
> > provide some measure of comprehensibility. Where a construct like
> > list comprehension maps very well onto idiomatic English, dismissing
> > it as "ad hoc syntax soup" is just plain wrong.

On Jan 20, 7:51 pm, Terry Reedy wrote:
> Especially given that Python's comprehensions are taken from Haskell's
> which are taken from mathematics' set builder notation. Also, care was
> taken to have a correspondance between comprehension syntax and nested
> for- and if- statement syntax. Someone recently made a proposal that
> would break that correspondance and which would be 'ad hoc' and it will
> surely be rejected.

I suggest you take a course in math history. This is a pratical suggestion. There are community colleges perhaps near you. Register and take a course. If you are in USA, usually they are very cheap because it is funded by taxes. Typically it's 3 hours or so a week, adding homework it might be 10 per week, and last about 3 months. Try it. It's fun.

The above won't actually teach you much in htis issue. To get some level of basic knowledge on this, you'll have to have few years on inter-displinary study associated math history, math notations, markup langs, computer syntax, mathematical linguistics related to grammar n syntax...

Being a tech geeking hip creature, perhaps you'll never take the above advice. You'd rather immediate read some slashdot or google something and post profusely in online forums. For this, i recommend a few articles of my own:

• The Codification of Mathematics
http://xahlee.org/cmaci/notation/math_codify.html

• The TeX Pestilence
http://xahlee.org/cmaci/notation/TeX_pestilence.html

• The Problems of Traditional Math Notation
http://xahlee.org/cmaci/notation/trad_math_notation.html

• A Notation for Plane Geometry
http://xahlee.org/cmaci/notation/plane_geometry_notation.html

• The Concepts and Confusions of Prefix, Infix, Postfix and Fully Nested Notations
http://xahlee.org/UnixResource_dir/writ/notations.html

of course, i also have very technical and practical book length tutorials on emacs lisp, python, perl, java, javascript/html/css, php, povray. You can find them on my website.

Thanks.

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