3,195 reputation
1117
bio website jelv.is
location Berkeley, CA
age 22
visits member for 4 years, 5 months
seen yesterday

I am a software engineer primarily interested in programming languages, functional programming, program synthesis, type theory, universal algebra and startups (not necessarily in that order!). In the near future, I want to combine as many of these as possible.

Right now I'm an engineer at Esper, an early stage startup in Palo Alto. We use OCaml on the backend, which is pretty neat.

I am always happy to chat: my email is tikhon@jelv.is.

I am especially interested in questions and projects involving Haskell or interesting PL issues.

GitHub: http://github.com/TikhonJelvis

Website: http://jelv.is


Jan
1
answered Type systems: nominal vs. structural, explicit vs. implicit
Dec
31
comment Why aren't user-defined operators more common?
How much "school" do you count? For example, I think ∈ for elem is a great idea and certainly an operator everybody should understand, but others seem to disagree.
Dec
30
comment Why aren't user-defined operators more common?
Have you looked at how Haskell does custom operators? They work exactly like normal functions, except they also have an associated precedence. (In fact, so can normal functions, so even there they don't really differ.) Basically, operators are infix by default and names are prefix, but that's the only difference.
Dec
21
awarded  Enlightened
Dec
21
awarded  Nice Answer
Dec
3
comment Is it bad to use Unicode characters in variable names?
Emacs supports a bunch of nice input methods that make typing Unicode symbols easy. (Including a TeX one which is what I use.) Emacs is hardly futuristic. (It is awesome, of course.)
Dec
3
comment Is it bad to use Unicode characters in variable names?
Also, I think the Unicode makes mathematically oriented code more readable. It lets you get the meaning of the code at a glance, just like the formula it comes from. The letters already have well-known meanings from context. So if you're already familiar with the given formula or the general area, you can read the code without having to parse the identifiers. If you're not familiar with the formula, you should probably look it up even with long variable names. And once you've looked up and understood the formula, the Unicode version is again easier to read.
Dec
3
comment Is it bad to use Unicode characters in variable names?
Reasonable editors have reasonable input methods for Unicode which make it easy to edit code like this. For example, Emacs supports (among other things) the TeX and rfc1345. TeX is just what it sounds like; it lets you type \sigma for σ and \to for . rfc1345 gives you some combinations like &s* for σ and &-> for . As a rule of thumb, I do not worry about accommodating programmers using editors less capable than Emacs.
Dec
3
awarded  Yearling
Nov
29
awarded  Nice Answer
Nov
26
comment Why is the concept of lazy evaluation useful?
@AlexNye: The John Hughes paper has more info. Despite being an academic paper---and therefore no doubt intimidating---it's actually very accessible and readable. If not for its length, it would probably fit as an answer here!
Nov
24
comment Is there a name for this functional programming construct/pattern?
@JimmyHoffa: I don't know about SML, but I've used OCaml, which is similar, and it does support currying almost as ubiquitously as Haskell. However, the coding style seems different: in Haskell, almost every function you write is curried; in OCaml, people often write functions that take a tuple (e.g. uncurried). Things like int * int -> int as opposed to int -> int -> int. I think this is only a matter of code style though.
Nov
12
awarded  Pundit
Nov
4
comment Why isn't functional programming more popular in the industry? Does it catch on now?
There is a significant difference between "complex" and "difficult". I think Rick Hickey's "Simple Made Easy" talk explains this difference very well. The important point is that something strictly simpler can also be more difficult to some people. Difficulty is a function of both the subject and the person in question; complexity is only inherent in the subject.
Oct
10
comment What functionality does dynamic typing allow?
@Jed: Most dynamic languages have a small set of "primitive" types and some inductive way to introduce new values (data structures like lists). Scheme, for example, gets quite far with little more than atoms, pairs and vectors. You should be able to implement these in the same way as the rest of the given dynamic type.
Oct
9
comment What can Haskell's type system do that Java's can't and vice versa?
@JörgWMittag: My understanding is that higher-rank polymorphism concerns where you can put the forall in your types. In Haskell, a type a -> b is implicitly forall a. forall b. a -> b. With an extension, you can make these foralls explicit and move them around.
Sep
8
comment Should Git be used for documentation and project management? Should the code be in a separate repository?
@ThorbjørnRavnAndersen: Even so, unless you have a binary-specific versioning system, it's probably better to keep even binary files in Git rather than on their own.
Sep
8
comment Should Git be used for documentation and project management? Should the code be in a separate repository?
A cool option would be to use Pandoc so that most of your documentation is in Markdown, but the crucial bits can still use TeX. Since it compiles the Markdown to LaTeX, the results look the same. However, this would also let you export it to different formats and would make the source easier to read.
Aug
28
comment Emacs/Vim/Vi - do they have a place in modern software development ecosystem?
Also, for some languages, the good IDE is Emacs. I've found this particularly true for the more functional languages like OCaml, Haskell, Scala and various Lisps.
Aug
17
comment What are the benefits of prefixing function parameter names with p*?
@Darthfett: Even that sort of hungarian notation seems to be trying to implement an ad-hoc, manual type system directly in the variable names. Just use a good statically typed language and have a real type system track things like that for you automatically!