Re: APL & Lojban (& SWH)

From: Edward Cherlin (
Date: Wed Oct 22 1997 - 13:25:54 EDT

At 1:36 AM -0700 10/22/97, Veijo Vilva wrote:
>la karl cusku di'e
>> Another observation is that the Lojban Home Page is hosted from Finland.
>> Finland was known around the world in the mid-80s as a hotbed of APL
>> activity. Interesting coincidence? Veijo, are you familiar with APL?
> Well, I wrote a couple of programs in APL back in '68 or so on an IBM1130
> with 16kb core memory, 1Mb HD and typewriter I/O (an APL ball :).

I remember it well. I think I still have an APL typeball, and a daisywheel
from some years later.

> The concept was nice, but the available hardware resources were kind of
> restricting (and still are if you'd like to handle matrices of, say,
> 5000000+ rows and columns :(
> co'o mi'e veion

Morgan-Stanley, one of the Wall Street investment companies, wrote its own
APL just so they could do that sort of thing. In 1989 they described a Sun
workstation with 2G real and 4G virtual memory that they provided their
analysts. They use much bigger systems now, of course. IBM has a
multiprocessor APL for its 3090s that uses the Fortran math libraries, so
it can easily handle matrices bigger than memory.

So here is the corollary to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis for computing:
available hardware limits most people's ability to think. Or, if the only
tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail (and

Edward Cherlin, President      <>
Help outlaw Spam by supporting Rep. Chris Smith's bill
and opposing the other bills supported by the spammers

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:37 EDT