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Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1986 10:19 EST
From: "Scott E. Fahlman" <Fahlman@C.CS.CMU.EDU>
The issue isn't generality, but minimizing the number of new functions.
"Why take two when one will do?"
In my view, the complexity of a language is not measured by counting the
functions. One hairy function-building meta-function adds a lot more
conceptual hair than two nearly identical simple functions that just do
easily explained things: gobble down any number of arguments, ignore
them, and return T or NIL. I'm not sure where the break-even point
would be in this case, but it's a lot higher than two.
That's fair, of course, but I'll rpess my luck just one more time: we
would be better off if we didn't automatically think of functions that
return functions as "hairy". (I don't mean to accuse you of reacting
automatically in this case, but I don't think my CONSTFN one-liner was
any hairier than + or GCD.) We are all used to MAPC and MAPCAR; most of
us are used to REMOVE-IF-NOT by now; and I have found REDUCE to be
tremendously useful in unexpected ways, as I have already noted. There
is great expressive power to be gained in a carefully selected set of
- TRUE, FALSE
- From: Mike McMahon <MMcM@SCRC-STONY-BROOK.ARPA>
- TRUE, FALSE
- From: "Scott E. Fahlman" <Fahlman@C.CS.CMU.EDU>