# Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programming la

## Hans Aberg <haberg-news@telia.com>Tue, 13 Mar 2012 00:10:46 +0100

From comp.compilers

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Re: Have we reached the asymptotic plateau of innovation in programmin cr88192@hotmail.com (BGB) (2012-03-09)
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 From: Hans Aberg Newsgroups: comp.compilers Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2012 00:10:46 +0100 Organization: A noiseless patient Spider References: 12-03-019 12-03-026 Keywords: design, history Posted-Date: 14 Mar 2012 00:27:44 EDT

On 2012/03/12 06:49, glen herrmannsfeldt wrote:

> As I understand it, Fortran introduced the multi-character variable
> name, pretty much universal in programming languages, but
> mathematicians haven't caught on yet.

Math started out with sentences like "add the first unknown quantity to
the second unknown quantity", but over the centuries, it was eventually
shortened to expressions like "x + y".

So computing takes a step back in evolution, in part due to a limited
character set. But that is slowly changing in view of Unicode and STIX
fonts, which are already in use in proof assistants, for example, Isabelle.

Otherwise, there are a lot of multi-character symbols in use in math,
for example, standard functions. Users of TeX know that these are
typeset tighter than the corresponding variables. So $sin$ will be
typeset as three variables with extra space between them indicating
implicit multiplication, whereas to get the function name one would have
to use $\sin$.

Hans

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