Haskell Weekly News: November 1, 2005

Greetings, and thanks for reading the 13th issue of HWN, a weekly newsletter for the Haskell community. Each Tuesday, new editions will be posted (as text) to the Haskell mailing list and (as HTML) to The Haskell Sequence.

New Releases

Calls for participation

HCAR entries due TODAY. Andres Loeh posted a reminder that entries for the Haskell Communities and Activities Report are due today.


Undecidable instances. In a thread about the need for undecidable instances, Johannes Waldmann suggested the use of termination analyzers.

Finding the character frequency in a string. Jon Fairbairn started an interesting thread about calculating the frequency each character in a string occurs.

FFI and modifying Haskell memory. Joel Reymont asked about proper FFI design for programs that read data in.

Haskell Toolchain

GHC assembly. John Meacham posted an analysis of GHC's assembly output, a comparison to jhc, and some suggestions for improving GHC's output.

Data.* collections maintenance. This large thread on the libraries list covered potential future directions for the Data.* libraries.

Quotes of the Week

For those that adhere to learn one new language per year which other languages should we learn?
Matz suggests io (or Haskell but he admits it makes his brain explode).
-- From RubyConf 2005 Roundtable discussion with Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto, creator of Ruby.

The Meta-FAQ

Q: What happened to HWN last week?

A: The answer to this question really goes back to the 16th century and the first movements in Europe to modernize astronomy away from the earth-centric view. But it wasn't really until Newton's time (late 17th and early 18th centuries) that we started to have the more advanced understanding necessary to begin answering this question. Modern astronomers have been able to calculate the period of the earth at 86164.09053 seconds, which is a few minutes shorter than the apparent day due to the earth's simultaneous orbit around the sun.

The second part of the answer to this question dates back even farther to ancient Egypt. The Egyptians used a duo-decimal numbering system, and found it convenient to separate each day into 24 equal units. Since then, other definitions for the hour have come in to play, usually based on the apparent solar day or the time between sunrise and sunset. These days, the hour is defined at 3600 seconds.

While each day appears to consist of approximately 24 hours, the period of the earth really is 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.09053 seconds. (I for one am pleased to receive the extra 4 minutes per day.)

So, we can see that the problem really is that there just weren't enough hours in a day for your HWN editor to get the issue out on time last week. I blame it on the ancient Egyptians.

Q: Would HWN have come out on time if you hadn't had to prepare a lengthy explanation for why it was late?

A: Good question. You should medidate on that for awhile and let us know for next week's HWN.

Q: Does this issue cover two weeks of fascinating Haskell news then?

A: Of course!

About Haskell Weekly News

Thanks to Jim Apple and Josef Svenningsson for contributing to this week's HWN.

Want to continue reading HWN? Please help us create new editions of this newsletter. Please see the contributing information, or send stories to hwn -at- complete -dot- org. There is also a Darcs repository available.