[erlang-questions] Erlang for youngsters

Steve Davis steven.charles.davis@REDACTED
Tue Jun 24 00:38:19 CEST 2014

I do however see how the idea encapsulated by "X = X+1" is the root of many 
computation problems - and is probably not a great thing to teach to kids 
without caveats.

On Monday, June 23, 2014 5:34:04 PM UTC-5, Steve Davis wrote:
> 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. :(
> /s
> 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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