Life in APL, programming in a live environment

This gorgeous screencast of an APL session shows an implementation of Conway's Game of Life being derived in APL.

It's a very delicious demonstration of what can be achieved in 1) a "live" computational environment (rather than a mere language 'n' platform) with 2) a language that works by evaluating expressions (rather than merely marshalling operations) and 3) already knows how to show you what complicated values look like (because it understands its work to be symbolic not operational).

Ponder what the Dyalog folks (no affiliation) are showing you there, ponder just how far towards that same goal you'd get in whatever programming system you use at work in 7 minutes 47 seconds (even if you'd done as much rehearsal as I'm sure they did) and then ponder the state of our industry.

Then have a stiff drink.

1 comment:

Paul W. Homer said...

It shows, elegantly, that with a good abstraction, leveraging the computer to do something complex for you is not necessarily a complex problem. We've progressed from assembler, but it's a small distance in a very large space. I just wish we could make more progress, faster ... (and not constantly forget all of the knowledge that we learned from early technologies like APL).