On 4/25/07, Anne Archibald <peridot.faceted@gmail.com> wrote:
On 25/04/07, Sturla Molden <sturla@molden.no> wrote:

> You have to realize that Matlab is mainly used by people who are not
> skilled programmers but scientists and engineers, the majority of which
> have never used anything else except perhaps Fortran 77. An array is the
> most advanced data structure they will ever need. I should know, I was
> among them for several years. Then I did something as silly as teaching
> myself C++. God knows why.

I have a quibble with this. I work with scientists too, and while an
array is usually the most sophisticated data structure they ever use,
it's not the most sophisticated data structure they ever *need*. Many
many times I've seen a project that is more limited, more error-prone,
slower, and more painful to use because the programmer didn't know
about or didn't use the right programming tools. Or was using a
language that didn't make them readily available.

Yep. I remember a discussion with a guy whose only experience was FORTRAN. I tried to point out the utility of such things as lists, stacks, and fifo's in adaptive algorithms. He just didn't see the need, mostly because he was unfamiliar with those data structures and just didn't think that way, so missed all the possibilities.