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Readings in Scheme...
The two classics in my training were SICP, which I saw my freshman
year, and EOPL, hot off the press, my junior year. (Ironically, I
think the only Little book I've been able to finish is Java.) I might
have stuck to what I liked most -- combinatorial algorithms -- but for
a chance visit to Indiana University, where Dan Friedman was kind
enough to spend his valuable time on a little runt (uh, me). He gave
me several papers to read. I'd never seen a paper before, but it was
clear they were magical. Numbers are from memory, hence quite likely
- implementing engines with continuations
- abstract continuations (IU CS TR 216)
- LAMBDA* (IU CS TR 247)
- SYNTAX-CASE (IU CS TRs 355/356)
- leakage containment (IU CS TR 346)
- LAMBDA^ (IU CS TR 237)
- applicative file system
These papers are just as elegant today, and there is still very,
very much wisdom in them. They forced me to switch to languages,
because it seemed impious to neglect so much beauty.
I think many Schemers I know went through a similar path -- finding
the books exciting, but only getting truly hooked when they read a
paper of profound beauty or met a person who could get them there.
There's certainly some satori involved. But now you know what to look
The way the legend is told, even Matthias Felleisen wasn't born
balancing parentheses. Friedman takes credit for knocking sense into
him. Of course, I would never say such a thing in a public forum,
where lots of people might read it.
I hope to write a beautiful paper someday.
Slipping into old fogey mode,