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[PhD Thesis] Large Scale Numerical Software Development Using Functional Languages
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Functional programming languages such as Haskell allow numerical algorithms to be expressed in a concise, machine-independent manner that closely reflects the underlying mathematical notation in which the algorithm is described. Unfortunately the price paid for this level of abstraction is usually a considerable increase in execution time and space usage. This thesis presents a three-part study of the use of modern purely-functional languages to develop numerical software. In Part I the appropriateness and usefulness of language features such as polymorphism, pattern matching, type-class overloading and non-strict semantics are discussed together with the limitations they impose. Quantitative statistics concerning the manner in which these features are used in practice are also presented. In Part II the information gathered from Part I is used to design and implement FSC, an experimental functional language tailored to numerical computing, motivated as much by pragmatic as theoretical issues. This language is then used to develop numerical software and its suitability assessed via benchmarking it against C/C++ and Haskell under various metrics. In Part III the work is summarised and assessed.
Department of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
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