Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Fortress blog

Back to one of the languages that can't quite count as "new" any more -- I've been intrigued by it for years now -- but which is ever-so-slowly continuing to gain momentum. Over on LtU, Guy Steele has announced that there is now a Fortress blog.

Fortress, for those who weren't around the last time I talked it up (a couple of years ago) is a project over at Sun Labs to build a truly modern language -- frankly, I half-suspect that part of why Java still sucks so badly is that all the high-wattage language thought at Sun is working on Fortress. Fortress is basically trying to fill the same evolutionary niche that Fortran once did, so it is tuned for scientific and mathematical use. It is deeply parallel -- indeed, many things that would normally be loops default to parallel unless you say otherwise -- and is designed to let you program more or less in conventional scientific notation. While you can write in standard ASCII, there is a direct translation from that ASCII into a format that looks more like something out of a math textbook. (Indeed, printouts clearly matter a lot -- they're spending a remarkable amount of effort on producing a comment syntax that is preposterously powerful, to let you arbitrarily describe what's going on.)

I gather that there are a moderate number of people working on it, but the two most notable for my purposes are Guy Steele (famous for his work on Common Lisp and Java) and Jan-Willem Maessen (aka John de Caversham in Carolingia). Both have entries in the new blog. Jan's talks about how to implement a fast parallel treap in it, and is pretty neat: it finally makes clear to me why treaps *matter*, which I hadn't seen explained clearly before. Language geeks may want to keep an eye on this blog -- while Fortress hasn't caught fire yet, it's still a contender to become a significant next-generation language...
Tags: programming

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