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Re: Functional programming? (RPN -v- Algebraic)

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg92074] Re: Functional programming? (RPN -v- Algebraic)
  • From: Joseph Gwinn <joegwinn at comcast.net>
  • Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2008 05:16:43 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <gat9oj$eie$1@smc.vnet.net>

In article <gat9oj$eie$1 at smc.vnet.net>,
 Bill Rowe <readnews at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

[snip]
> 
> Debating which is better (functional programing or procedural
> programing) is analogous to debates of early calculators
> comparing HP's RPN style to TI's algebraic style. Either could
> get the task done. And it was possible to find example problems
> that were more efficiently done by one than by the other.

Actually, this question was answered many years ago, and RPN required 
significantly less work to solve non-toy programs.  

How was this determined?  By comparing the number of keystrokes needed 
to solve various standard programs, like interest-rate calculations in 
the financial world.  People just counted the keystrokes in the programs 
provided in the respective users manuals, on the assumption that each 
such program was written by experts working for the respective 
manufacturers, and so would be as close to optimal as humanly possible, 
making the comparison both fair and informative.

The bottom line was that it took RPN about two thirds the keystrokes 
that algebraic took for the same problem.   This certainly is my 
personal experience as well.

Joe Gwinn


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