Ronald P. Loui: The Best Student AI Work Is Developed in Gawk

Here is some surprising evidence that Perl should still be respected in spite of its “indecent” appearance. And while Gawk appears to beat Lisp at its own game in this case, it may in fact be because it has so much in common with Lisp.

Important Gawk Features based on Ronald P. Loui’s AI class experience:

  • Powerful String Processing Language Features
  • Powerful Constructions for Manipulating a Wide Variety of Data in Efficient Ways
  • Interpreted Language with a Short Learning Curve
  • Automatic Initialization, Implicit Coercion, I/O Support and Lack of Pointers
  • Regular Expressions
  • Associative Arrays
  • Relies on the OS to provide Data Organization, Debugging Tools, and Subroutine Libraries
  • Powerful Uniform Data Structure
  • Trivial Syntax
  • Encourages Bottom-Up Design and Exploratory Programming

If you don’t have time to master Lisp, Gawk might be a pretty good substitute….

(I found the link to the above article in the comments of an blog entry that really trashes poor RPG. Just reading through it I noticed a lot people love to make lame complaints about languages they know nothing about. Whether its Lisp or RPG, most of the things people get hung up on have either been addressed in the 20 years since the person last saw the language or that can be addressed by trivial modifications to a text editor. Anyways, old school RPG’s “program cycle” is very similar to the basic premise of gawk– sans most of the more lispy features, of course. RPG’s tight integration to the OS is is also very similar.)

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