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Stephen Wolfram Developing New Programming Language 168

Posted by samzenpus
from the lets-try-this dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Stephen Wolfram, the chief designer of the Mathematica software platform and the Wolfram Alpha 'computation knowledge engine,' has another massive project in the works—although he's remaining somewhat vague about details for the time being. In simplest terms, the project is a new programming language—which he's dubbing the 'Wolfram Language'—which will allow developers and software engineers to program a wide variety of complex functions in a streamlined fashion, for pretty much every single type of hardware from PCs and smartphones all the way up to datacenters and embedded systems. The Language will leverage automation to cut out much of the nitpicking complexity that dominates current programming. 'The Wolfram Language does things automatically whenever you want it to,' he wrote in a recent blog posting. 'Whether it's selecting an optimal algorithm for something. Or picking the most aesthetic layout. Or parallelizing a computation efficiently. Or figuring out the semantic meaning of a piece of data. Or, for that matter, predicting what you might want to do next. Or understanding input you've given in natural language.' In other words, he's proposing a general-purpose programming language with a mind-boggling amount of functions built right in. At this year's SXSW, Wolfram alluded to his decades of work coming together in 'a very nice way,' and this is clearly what he meant. And while it's tempting to dismiss anyone who makes sweeping statements about radically changing the existing paradigm, he does have a record of launching very big projects (Wolfram Alpha contains more than 10 trillion pieces of data cultivated from primary sources, along with tens of thousands of algorithms and equations) that function reliably. At many points over the past few years, he's also expressed a belief that simple equations and programming can converge to create and support enormously complicated systems. Combine all those factors together, and it's clear that Wolfram's pronouncements—no matter how grandiose—can't simply be dismissed. But it remains to be seen how much of an impact he actually has on programming as an art and science."
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Stephen Wolfram Developing New Programming Language

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  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Friday November 15, 2013 @09:10AM (#45431887)

    Perhaps, but I can't help thinking that making assumptions will lead to unpredictable and inconsistent behaviour. Convention over configuration and type inference is one thing, but assumptions are completely another. It's like the dangers in lower level languages where a programmer assumes memory will be zeroed ... and _usually_ it is. It leads to obscure errors. There's a lot to be said for beiong explicit where possible.

  • by dotancohen (1015143) on Friday November 15, 2013 @09:17AM (#45431915) Homepage

    But this one is ostensibly designed by Stephen Wolfram, who knows what scientists and physicists need from a programing language.

    Python, C, Java, et al were all designed by computer programmers for computer programmers. R and Mathlab were designed by computer programmers for mathematicians, thus works a lot better for expressing certain mathematical concepts and working with them (transformations, statistics). But there is much room for improvement, especially when looking at the problem from the scientist's point of view, not from the programmer's point of view.

  • by Celarent Darii (1561999) on Friday November 15, 2013 @09:42AM (#45432055)

    Well, either he's created the mother of all LISP macros, or it's simply vaporware. Love to see it when they publish it. Code or it didn't happen.

    Here is the obligatory xkcd [], panel two.

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