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Travis Hinkelman

Guess the number game in Fortran

I recently came across this blog post on writing simple test programs in different programming languages as a way to get a feel for a language. At the bottom of the post, there were links to articles on implementations of a number guessing game in 13 different languages, including Fortran. I was curious about the Fortran example because I've been interested in learning a little Fortran after hearing about efforts to improve the tooling around Fortran (e.g., here and here). Well, the Fortran example was written in Fortran 77 so I decided that re-writing it in modern Fortran would be a nice little exercise.

Stochastic population model in Rust

As I spent a little time learning F# over the last few months, I found that it wasn't holding my attention. My interest in F# was based on the idea that I could write more robust code (via static typing) than in R and that I could more easily turn that code into web or desktop applications. I still think that F# could be a valuable tool to add to my toolbox, but I encountered just enough friction that I wasn't having fun with it. My primary point of frustration is that so much material for learning F# assumes that you already know C# and .NET. Plus, the roll out of .NET 5 and F# 5 this fall, while exciting, creates a period of increased confusion for beginners.

Stochastic population model in F#

In three previous posts, I wrote about different programming languages that I have considered learning. I mentioned about 15 different languages in those posts. F# was not on the list. Because my background is in R, I thought I was better off sticking to learning dynamically typed languages at this point. Moreover, I hold a longstanding bias against Microsoft and Windows and that bias was easy to transfer to F#.

Exploratory data analysis in Chez Scheme

When I started learning Scheme, I took the common approach of learning a new language by implementing features from familiar languages (namely R). That approach sent me down the path of writing the chez-stats and dataframe libraries and porting gnuplot-pipe from Chicken to Chez Scheme. Those three libraries now allow me to conduct simple exploratory data analysis (EDA) in Chez Scheme that should be feel relatively familiar to R programmers. In this post, I will work through a simple example, which mostly serves to reinforce how much better suited R is for these types of tasks.

Getting started with Akku package manager for Scheme

Akku is a package manager for Scheme that currently supports numerous R6RS and R7RS Scheme implementations [1]. I was slow to embrace Akku because I encountered some initial friction with installation and setup. Moreover, coming from R, I was more familiar with a global package management model than Akku's project-based workflow. In the meantime, I was content to manually manage the few libraries that I had downloaded from different repos and placed in a directory found by Chez's (library-directories).

ASCII progress bar in Chez Scheme

As an impatient person, I typically use progress bars for any code that takes more than a few minutes to run. In a previous post, I wrote about creating ASCII progress bars in R and Racket. The Racket version depended on the raart module, which "provides an algebraic model of ASCII that can be used for art, user interfaces, and diagrams." Because I'm not aware of any such library for Chez Scheme [1], I was left feeling stuck.