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

reply Justin Johansson <no spam.com> writes:
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
next sibling parent reply bearophile <bearophileHUGS lycos.com> writes:
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
parent reply Justin Johansson <no spam.com> writes:
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
parent reply BCS <none anon.com> writes:
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
next sibling parent Justin Johansson <no spam.com> writes:
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
prev sibling parent Justin Johansson <no spam.com> writes:
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
prev sibling next sibling parent "Steven Schveighoffer" <schveiguy yahoo.com> writes:
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
prev sibling next sibling parent Kagamin <spam here.lot> writes:
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
prev sibling parent reply "Nick Sabalausky" <a a.a> writes:
"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
next sibling parent reply Andrei Alexandrescu <SeeWebsiteForEmail erdani.org> writes:
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
parent BCS <none anon.com> writes:
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
prev sibling parent Justin Johansson <no spam.com> writes:
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