What is APL programming language and what are its benefits?

March 9, 2022
Aaron Hsu is an APL expert who used his PhD to research radically improving APL compiler performance. He'll be speaking at Functional Conf 2022


APL strips away a lot of boilerplate fluff, but it does so in a way without over abstracting the problem. So it delivers an ultrahigh level, high productivity programming language that allows you you to reason at a high level, at the machine level. So it allows you to do something called mechanical sympathy or to have mechanical sympathy. And so you get a programming language that is basically an executable mathematical notation that performs oftentimes faster than handwritten C Code and other stuff. And it's portable, it's platform independent all of these things that you want in a high level language.

But you get this ultra high performance from it. And the language itself makes sense to domain experts, people who are statisticians, mathematicians, chemical engineers, business information people, logicians, all these people who have all this domain knowledge, say an actuarial or an accountant who has all this knowledge about a given domain. APL can enable them to solve their problems directly in their code. Right those solutions without ever having to have a big It team to support that. And so then the IT team can focus on delivering cleaner architectures rather than trying to figure out what the special knowledge is that the domain expert has.

So it empowers your team or even your individuals to do what they do best. So the domain experts can actually make sure that the code is doing what they want it to do and doing the right thing, while the It guys can focus on delivering good software engineering around that. And it creates a really good synergy. And it does so at a very high level of productivity and performance.

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