By Michael Swaine for Dr. Dobb’s Journal
If you’ve been wondering what functional programming is all about, don’t wait any longer. Michael examines functional languages like Scala, F#, Erlang, and Haskell, and Mike Riley adds a note about functional programming with Mathematica.
We’re approaching one of those paradigm shifts again. Knowledge of functional programming (FP) is on the verge of becoming a must-have skill. Now, we’re not talking about a shift on the scale of the tectonic movement that object-oriented programming brought on. Functional programming has been around since the creation of LISP in 1958 and hasn’t taken over application development, nor is it about to. FP won’t make your word processing program faster or better. But there are domains where it is highly useful, and in particular FP looks like the paradigm of choice for unlocking the power of multicore processors. Functional programming languages are ideally suited to, as one developer succinctly puts it, “solving the multicore problem.”