[erlang-questions] Erlang for youngsters

Steve Davis steven.charles.davis@REDACTED
Tue Jun 24 00:34:03 CEST 2014

Hi Richard,

I'm confused by your response... is it possible to do tail-recursion in 
Java (and thus make iteration and recursion similar)? 

I had imagined that each recursive function call in a JVM would add a frame 
to the stack and eventually cause an overflow.

Maybe I missed making my point. :(


On Sunday, June 22, 2014 11:40:54 PM UTC-5, Richard A. O'Keefe wrote:
> On 21/06/2014, at 12:58 PM, Steve Davis wrote: 
> > It's not hard... but can be extremely expensive if it builds a call 
> stack (e.g. Java)... 
> Presumably "It" here refers to "recursion". 
> Extremely expensive compared to *what*? 
> There are problems where you could naturally use either 
> iteration or tail recursion, and it doesn't matter which 
> one you use because they are the same thing. 
> And there are problems that can be expressed simply using 
> general recursion.  For those problems, doing without it 
> results in code that harder for people and worse for computers. 
> There can be no problems that are easier with iteration than 
> recursion, although there can be problems that are easier 
> with particular *syntax*. 
> If we are talking about "Erlang for youngsters", 
> I wonder whether it might not be easier to teach 
> the *use* of higher-order traversal functions than 
> direct loops of any kind.  I remember it being 
> *amazing* how much you could get done in APL without 
> a loop of your own in sight. 
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