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Functional Programming

Functional Programming For The Rest of Us
by Manigandan Muthusamy
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Many of us programmers fumble at the idea of Functional Programming and yet many others who do not program for a living and experts in other fields often find it intuitive. Many physicists, bio-tech engineers and research labs embrace this seemingly bizarre programming culture.

Determined to understand this counter intuitive phenomenon, I started looking at the gap between the proponents and bystanders of FP.

Interestingly most programmers start by learning about processors, memory, machine language, data structures, etc. and then harness these machines by learning to instruct them. This learning locks their thought process into the imperative lane and they fumble on the idea of immutable data and lazy execution.

Whereas those coming from different domains looking for solutions to their problems find FP a natural fit for their needs as they only care about their problems and have no pre-installed conceptions about computing.
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Programmers Vs. Scientists
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Manigandan Muthusamy, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
a=a+1 makes sense in our programming language an suddenly we forgot why in mathematics we never wrote like that and assumed its valid in maths also. People coming from pure science and math background see a=a+1 as something that does not fit into their fundamental building block and hence functional programming is popular with them.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
IO is another pain point for FP. Its hard to imagine and do IO the FP way.
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http://www.defmacro.org/ramblings/fp.html

Talk on functional programming and what it is good and why its better than imperative programming are abudant on the internet but they all assume that the audience have certain basic knowledge on Lambada, Mondas, CPS, and are well versed with Turning vs Church model and they talk in a language that deals with these bigger concepts but for audience who have spend many many years on imperative programming these academic papers are ignored either as difficult or irrelevant to real software development. This article breaks the barrier and introduces fp to rest of the programming community
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Manigandan Muthusamy, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
What we need is new school of thought, we need to teach new algorithm that can do simple activity, all these days programming is about storing data, transforming data, presenting data and we have algorithms that effectively mutate data to get to the desired form.
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Manigandan Muthusamy, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
Algorithms like merge sort is a classic example of doing it in functional manner
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
But merge sort is an advanced topic. We need simpler and intuitive examples and metaphors to propose FP as a better alternative.
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Manigandan Muthusamy, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
Merge sort is very fundamental to computing, its one algorithm that address quite a lot of computing activity, its the best example of comparison based sorting and the beauty is it can be done without having to mutate (can be implemented using functional programming concepts in imperative language)
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