Social Analysis and Modeling for Python

Cameron Laird claird at lairds.us
Wed Sep 29 20:08:05 CEST 2004


In article <mailman.4083.1096472628.5135.python-list at python.org>,
Bishara Gabriel  <bgabriel at cloudthunder.com> wrote:
>I encourage feedback from all parties and especially those which would 
>like to be directly involved (I may include you in the grant proposal 
>and budget).  Send me your comments!
>
>------->
>
>Project Objective
>
>We seek to introduce the advantages of object-oriented programming to
>the realm of social sciences.  We believe the fields thereof (economics,
>history, sociology, political science, etc.), have much to gain from
>OOP’s ability to represent social constructs.  Particularly, we have
>found Python to be well suited to the rapid formulation of social models
>due to its syntactic simplicity, outstanding support for object-oriented
>programming, and comprehensive libraries.  Unfortunately, most academics
>in the aforementioned fields are unaware of the capabilities, let alone
>applicability, of programmatic representation.  Those who do are
>typically put off by the inadequacy and complexity of more traditional
>languages such as C and C++.  We therefore propose to disseminate an
>understanding among these fields of the ability to develop social models
>and represent social constructs via the rapid modeling capabilities of
>the Python language.  We seek to demonstrate how Python presents to them
>limited costs in production time via its language features, and to show
>how social models can be mentally approached in such a way that there
>exists a one-to-one correlation between their theoretical model and the
>Python equivalent.
>
>See the rest of the proposal at:
>http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~bgabriel/Social_Analysis_&_Modeling_in_Python.pdf

I'm a bit sour about this.

Academics are, of course, entirely justified when "put off by ... C
and C++."  I also entirely agree that Python is a great vehicle for
all sorts of research.  Moreover, the language of your charter is 
no more stiff than my own writing sometimes become.  For all these
reasons, your efforts have my sympathy.

It deeply concerns me, though, that you imagine you might "introduce
the advantages of object-oriented programming to the realm of social
sciences."  A quarter of a century ago, Simula enthusiasts were
already demonstrating success at the same mission.  This makes me
wonder if your project might do well to research its foundations 
a few days more--or at least expressing them more judiciously.



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