Sunday, February 24, 2008

That's what I get for all that Scheming

So I know that I have sang the praises of Scheme in several posts now, but let me get to some of the downsides:

First of all, it's insane. No control structures. No local variables. THE MADNESS!!!

But more importantly for me, because it uses exact numbers (ie fractions), the numbers can quickly become to large for the interpreter to handle within reasonable amounts of time. In many cases having exact numbers is ideal for math, but when your using mathematical estimates based on numerical analysis that is iterated many, many times, well, things get ugly.

So I'm putting out this question: Does anyone know of a way to turn off exact numbers in Scheme. I realize that you can just use the function (inexact->exact num), but that only turns it off for one instance, what I'm looking for is a more general purpose off switch.

Because of this difficulty, for some of the more advanced numerical methods I'm handling I'm switching to OpenOffice Spreadsheet. It's not a perfect system, but if properly used the spreadsheet can be a mighty powerful tool of data manipulation.

And I shall also see if I can design functions that get around the inexact/exact difficulty even if it is with the inexact->exact function, because I dream, I dream of the day when once more I can Scheme.

No comments: