Functional programming languages

daniel's blog

When I first came across the functional paradigm, I thought that it sounded very cool and hip because other paradigms were too mainstream.

But when asked in several occasions to explain it, I found difficulty in conveying the essence of what it means to be a functional language. So I have decided to sit down and examine this issue.

While mainly emphasized in academia (standard ml, haskell), there have been many uses in the real world. Jane Street uses OCaml, some financial institutions use q. Many non-functional languages even support functional paradigm. In C++11 for instance, lambdas are introduced.

So what is a functional language? Firstly, a functional language is mostly pure. That is, given the same input, the function will always return the same output. This is similar to the mathematical definition of a function. Other forms of programming paradigm sometimes use function to mean a subroutine – jumping out of…

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