## digitalmars.D - [OT] Is the D(n) PL discovery or invention?

- Justin Johansson <no spam.com> Aug 05 2010
- bearophile <bearophileHUGS lycos.com> Aug 05 2010
- Justin Johansson <no spam.com> Aug 05 2010
- BCS <none anon.com> Aug 05 2010
- Justin Johansson <no spam.com> Aug 05 2010
- Justin Johansson <no spam.com> Aug 05 2010
- "Steven Schveighoffer" <schveiguy yahoo.com> Aug 05 2010
- Kagamin <spam here.lot> Aug 05 2010
- "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> Aug 05 2010
- Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> Aug 05 2010
- BCS <none anon.com> Aug 05 2010
- Justin Johansson <no spam.com> Aug 05 2010

This question is a play on the eternal question "is mathematics discovery or invention?" There are many web references to the latter topic and web search is easy, take this one for example: "IS mathematics a discovery or invention" Friday, 16. November 2007, 07:19:16 http://my.opera.com/maxx%20steel/blog/2007/11/16/is-mathematics-a-discovery-or-invention and your own web searches will uncover a myriad of ideas and opinions on this very subject. My discussion starter is now about programming languages (PLs) and their relation to discovery or invention. Since PLs are somewhat related to maths, does it bare fruit to ask the same question of PLs themselves? Obvious questions that might be asked include: What is the definition of discovery versus invention? Is there a gray-scale (or a continuum) between discovery and invention? In the context of the D PL, where does D(version n) lie in the continuum between discovery and invention. I have my own ideas on this subject and will admit that my leaning is towards discovery. What's your opinion? Cheers Justin Johansson

Aug 05 2010

Justin Johansson:This question is a play on the eternal question "is mathematics discovery or invention?"

I have seen nothing useful or interesting come out of this discussion, so this topic has lost most of the interest for me.In the context of the D PL, where does D(version n) lie in the continuum between discovery and invention.

Often the less axioms and building blocks are necessary to design your language, the more it seems discovered. So something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SKI_combinator_calculus or even the core of Lisp look more like discoveries to me. While D2 is mostly a large aggregate of historical accidents, so I put it quite more toward the engineering side of the line :-) Bye, bearophile

Aug 05 2010

bearophile wrote:Justin Johansson:This question is a play on the eternal question "is mathematics discovery or invention?"

I have seen nothing useful or interesting come out of this discussion, so this topic has lost most of the interest for me.In the context of the D PL, where does D(version n) lie in the continuum between discovery and invention.

Often the less axioms and building blocks are necessary to design your language, the more it seems discovered. So something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SKI_combinator_calculus or even the core of Lisp look more like discoveries to me. While D2 is mostly a large aggregate of historical accidents, so I put it quite more toward the engineering side of the line :-) Bye, bearophile

Thanks for the link. I read it once over though have not thoroughly absorbed it as yet. However I suspect that material is not relevant to where I wish to lead this discussion (if I may please). Please may I also ask my audience if they are aware of the math term "countably infinite" and the contra-term "uncountably infinite"? Having such understanding will help me make some hypothesis/conjecture which all are then more than welcome to criticize or concert with. btw. any comments made by me in the context of this discussion thread about D(version N) should equally apply to any other PL. Cheers Justin Johansson

Aug 05 2010

Hello Justin,However I suspect that material is not relevant to where I wish to lead this discussion (if I may please).

No need to creap up on it ... :)Please may I also ask my audience if they are aware of the math term "countably infinite" and the contra-term "uncountably infinite"?

Assume we do and those that don't can ask Google. -- ... <IXOYE><

Aug 05 2010

BCS wrote:Hello Justin,However I suspect that material is not relevant to where I wish to lead this discussion (if I may please).

No need to creap up on it ... :)

You are right; best cut to the chase. Looks like there are a few other replies already, so I've involve myself there.Please may I also ask my audience if they are aware of the math term "countably infinite" and the contra-term "uncountably infinite"?

Assume we do and those that don't can ask Google.

Sorry, that was a bad way of putting a rhetorical question.

Aug 05 2010

BCS wrote:Hello Justin, No need to creap up on it ... :)

Thanks BCS. On second thoughts, after reading the excellent replies by Nick, Andrei et. al, so far, I don't want to spoil where the discussion seems to be going. I think I'm better off letting this discussion as thus far started take it's natural course and cut to the chase under a new topic rather than creep up on it. Cheers Justin

Aug 05 2010

On Thu, 05 Aug 2010 07:26:29 -0400, Justin Johansson <no spam.com> wrote:This question is a play on the eternal question "is mathematics discovery or invention?" There are many web references to the latter topic and web search is easy, take this one for example: "IS mathematics a discovery or invention" Friday, 16. November 2007, 07:19:16 http://my.opera.com/maxx%20steel/blog/2007/11/16/is-mathematics-a-discovery-or-invention and your own web searches will uncover a myriad of ideas and opinions on this very subject. My discussion starter is now about programming languages (PLs) and their relation to discovery or invention. Since PLs are somewhat related to maths, does it bare fruit to ask the same question of PLs themselves? Obvious questions that might be asked include: What is the definition of discovery versus invention? Is there a gray-scale (or a continuum) between discovery and invention? In the context of the D PL, where does D(version n) lie in the continuum between discovery and invention. I have my own ideas on this subject and will admit that my leaning is towards discovery. What's your opinion?

I suppose the classification of discovery or invention really comes down to if someone else wrote it, would it be *necessarily* the same. For example, if aliens (the outer space kind) wrote programming languages, would they also "discover" D? I would say no. But I would completely expect them to discover the formula for newton's law of gravity, or the properties of prime numbers. I rank PL's as inventions, not discoveries. Every one of them. Even machine code. There are programming elements that I think are discoveries, however. Algorithms for instance are discoveries to some degree. -Steve

Aug 05 2010

Justin Johansson Wrote:This question is a play on the eternal question "is mathematics discovery or invention?"

Discovery, of course, because it's fully deductive. There's only one possible consequence on axioms - and it just gets discovered. There's a little invention, though, when you formulate axioms.My discussion starter is now about programming languages (PLs) and their relation to discovery or invention.

PL is a pure invention. There's nothing real that corresponds to PL and that could be discovered as a PL. The designer is only restricted by intention to make a working instrument. Everything else is at his free will. There's only one mathematics and there're many different arts.Is there a gray-scale (or a continuum) between discovery and invention?

For example, physics is about 50/50.In the context of the D PL, where does D(version n) lie in the continuum between discovery and invention.

There're some things to discover about PL - bug-prone features. But there's a trade-off between performance and fixes for those features, so they affect PL only slightly.

Aug 05 2010

"Justin Johansson" <no spam.com> wrote in message news:i3e758$a67$1 digitalmars.com...This question is a play on the eternal question "is mathematics discovery or invention?" There are many web references to the latter topic and web search is easy, take this one for example: "IS mathematics a discovery or invention" Friday, 16. November 2007, 07:19:16 http://my.opera.com/maxx%20steel/blog/2007/11/16/is-mathematics-a-discovery-or-invention and your own web searches will uncover a myriad of ideas and opinions on this very subject. My discussion starter is now about programming languages (PLs) and their relation to discovery or invention. Since PLs are somewhat related to maths, does it bare fruit to ask the same question of PLs themselves? Obvious questions that might be asked include: What is the definition of discovery versus invention? Is there a gray-scale (or a continuum) between discovery and invention? In the context of the D PL, where does D(version n) lie in the continuum between discovery and invention. I have my own ideas on this subject and will admit that my leaning is towards discovery. What's your opinion?

My view on it: - Math *concepts* are debatably either invention or discovery. - Math *notation* is ostensibly a creation. Although, whether or not all "creation" is really nothing more than "discovery" in disguise is a question philosphers could probably spend centuries discussing and getting nowhere on. - Specific programming languages, such as D, are in the same category as math *notation*. Just like math notation, they are *arbitrary* representations of abstract ideas. - The abstract ideas that programming languages represent (ex: functions, expressions, metaprogramming, etc.) are debatably either invention or discovery in the same way as math *concepts*. In fact, most, if not all of them, are generally considered to *be* mathematical concepts. - Whether math *concepts* and programming *concepts* are invention or discovery: I suspect that question is really just thinking about it the wrong way. Our categorizational-loving minds have created (or discovered) the categories of "invention" and "discovery". Math (concepts) may merely be evidence that those categories, like many human-created (or discovered) categories (for example, biology's binomial nomenclature) are imperfect classifications that do not always bisect their domains into clear "in" and "out" sections.

Aug 05 2010

Nick Sabalausky wrote:"Justin Johansson" <no spam.com> wrote in message news:i3e758$a67$1 digitalmars.com...This question is a play on the eternal question "is mathematics discovery or invention?" There are many web references to the latter topic and web search is easy, take this one for example: "IS mathematics a discovery or invention" Friday, 16. November 2007, 07:19:16 http://my.opera.com/maxx%20steel/blog/2007/11/16/is-mathematics-a-discovery-or-invention and your own web searches will uncover a myriad of ideas and opinions on this very subject. My discussion starter is now about programming languages (PLs) and their relation to discovery or invention. Since PLs are somewhat related to maths, does it bare fruit to ask the same question of PLs themselves? Obvious questions that might be asked include: What is the definition of discovery versus invention? Is there a gray-scale (or a continuum) between discovery and invention? In the context of the D PL, where does D(version n) lie in the continuum between discovery and invention. I have my own ideas on this subject and will admit that my leaning is towards discovery. What's your opinion?

My view on it: - Math *concepts* are debatably either invention or discovery. - Math *notation* is ostensibly a creation. Although, whether or not all "creation" is really nothing more than "discovery" in disguise is a question philosphers could probably spend centuries discussing and getting nowhere on. - Specific programming languages, such as D, are in the same category as math *notation*. Just like math notation, they are *arbitrary* representations of abstract ideas.

I agree, however this journey with helping defining D during the past four years taught me something interesting. There are considerably many programming language artifacts that are sheer consequences of higher-order decisions. For example, if you go for memory safety and self-referential data structures, you pretty much must use garbage collection. There are consequences that are even subtler, like transitivity of qualifiers. Andrei

Aug 05 2010

Hello Andrei,I agree, however this journey with helping defining D during the past four years taught me something interesting. There are considerably many programming language artifacts that are sheer consequences of higher-order decisions. For example, if you go for memory safety and self-referential data structures, you pretty much must use garbage collection. There are consequences that are even subtler, like transitivity of qualifiers. Andrei

There is a connection to axioms and there implications (and Gödel's incompleteness theorems) in there somewhere. -- ... <IXOYE><

Aug 05 2010

Nick Sabalausky wrote:My view on it: - Math *concepts* are debatably either invention or discovery. - Math *notation* is ostensibly a creation. Although, whether or not all "creation" is really nothing more than "discovery" in disguise is a question philosphers could probably spend centuries discussing and getting nowhere on. - Specific programming languages, such as D, are in the same category as math *notation*. Just like math notation, they are *arbitrary* representations of abstract ideas. - The abstract ideas that programming languages represent (ex: functions, expressions, metaprogramming, etc.) are debatably either invention or discovery in the same way as math *concepts*. In fact, most, if not all of them, are generally considered to *be* mathematical concepts. - Whether math *concepts* and programming *concepts* are invention or discovery: I suspect that question is really just thinking about it the wrong way. Our categorizational-loving minds have created (or discovered) the categories of "invention" and "discovery". Math (concepts) may merely be evidence that those categories, like many human-created (or discovered) categories (for example, biology's binomial nomenclature) are imperfect classifications that do not always bisect their domains into clear "in" and "out" sections.

A lot of what you say I've read elsewhere before but not this bit "I suspect that question is really just thinking about it the wrong way. Our categorizational-loving minds have created (or discovered) the categories of "invention" and "discovery"." Those are really thought provoking statements that really turn the question on its head. :-)

Aug 05 2010