New Languages, and Why We Need Them.

Technology Review (07/26/10) Pavlus, John

The creators of 24 new programming languages, including hobbyists, academics, and corporate researchers, recently presented their work at the Emerging Languages Camp. “There’s a renaissance in language design at the moment, and the biggest reason for it is that the existing mainstream languages just aren’t solving the problems people want solved,” says Google’s Rob Pike. Google’s Go language was designed to manage the complexity of distributed, multicore computing platforms such as data centers and cloud networks. Go reduces redundancies in the compiling process, which means that “programs can be ready to execute in a matter of seconds,” Pike says. Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s researcher Tim Van Cutsem presented AmbientTalk, an experimental language based on ambient-oriented programming, which departs from traditional computing by not relying on central infrastructure and by assuming that network connections are volatile and unpredictable. “AmbientTalk is smart enough to buffer messages so that when the connection drops, they’re not lost, and when the connection is restored, it sends the messages through as if nothing happened,” Van Cutsem says. Microsoft’s Matt MacLaurin developed Kodu, a language designed to get young people interested in programming. “Our working theory is that programming is intrinsically fascinating and fun, like crosswords or sudoku,” MacLaurin says.

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