The Popovitch Blog

My First Plunge Into The Abstract Algorithm

March 27, 2019

I just picked up The Optimal Implementation of Functional Programming Languages. Since I’m writing a functional programming language, currently nicknamed Zoda, this seemed like a natural buy. But this book is surprisingly difficult to read. For starters, here is the very beginning of the introduction:

This book is about optimal sharing in functional programming languages. The formal notion of sharing we shall deal with was formalized in the seventies by Levy in terms of “families” of redexes with a same origin - more technically, in terms of sets of redexes that are residuals of a unique (virtual) redex.

Not exactly light reading. Then, at the end of the chapter, you’re greeted with this lovely flowchart:

Chapter Reading Order

I can’t think of a nerdier way to describe the recommended chapter reading order than with an inverted dependency graph. This book is a joy to read but a struggle to get through if you don’t already know the author’s terminology and notation.

Andre Popovitch

Written by Andre Popovitch, a Michigan State student who wants to change the world. You should follow him on Twitter