Thursday, February 17, 2011

Observations on the Feeling of the Ugly and Insignificant

vsm001 said...
I neglected to add my biggest objection to Louis's project, the lack of a strictly (or lazily) functional subset.

Louis told me he is planning on writing a book about interpreter implementation. I have offered to write prolegomena for any future meta-circularity, but Louis doesn't seem too keen on the idea.

vsm001 went directly to the meta-point of many of my posts: This is no way to go about designing a language.

BUT, I wanted to explore a particular issue in the design space of languages, not whether we should be in the space in the first place. In particular, let us assume some plausible rationale for inventing a language and then ask the questions that vsm001 raised.

vsm001 asked,
What are the characteristics of problems that Reason is well-suited to solve?

I'll rephrase this. What are the characteristics of problems that would be better solved by a language that has two complementary ‘modes’ of operation as opposed to a language in which a single mode suffices? In other words, neither of the two modes of Reason taken separately is quite powerful enough to be Turing complete, you really need both of them; under what situations would this provide an advantage over using a single, Turing complete mode?