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Old 4th-December-2010, 08:28 AM   Melllvar's time 4th-December-2010, 02:28 AM    #1
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Default What languages do the best programmers use?

This blog post was interesting. It discusses which languages were used by people competing in the Google AI Challenge, and has graphs of language 'density' vs ranking.

The winner was apparently a Lisp guy, although C and Haskell did better overall when looking at density as a function of ranking. The graphs indicate Java and C# were fairly evenly distributed, with few people at the highest or lowest rankings using them. The most commonly used were Java, C++ and Python, in that order.

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Paul Graham has stated that Java was designed for "average" programmers while other languages (like Lisp) are for good programmers. The fact that the winner of the competition wrote in Lisp seems to support this assertion. Or should we see Mr. Melis as an anomaly who happened to use Lisp for this task?
Now the real question is how long it will take this thread to become a "which language is better" flame-war.
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Old 4th-December-2010, 08:34 AM   ProxyAmenRa's time 4th-December-2010, 06:34 PM    #2
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Default Re: What languages do the best programmers use?

Matlab FTW!!!


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Now the real question is how long it will take this thread to become a "which language is better" flame-war.
First post.
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Old 4th-December-2010, 02:02 PM   Latro's time 4th-December-2010, 09:02 AM    #3
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Default Re: What languages do the best programmers use?

Depends what you're doing. For general purpose, my preference is Haskell, as you've already seen. But that's not saying much in favor of Haskell, since I don't have any real programs in it to show.

As for this in particular, I'd bet that the winner was probably a guy who actually works in the AI community, which is heavily bloated with Lisp users relative to most other sorts of applications.
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Old 4th-December-2010, 06:37 PM   James Black's time 4th-December-2010, 01:37 PM    #4
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Default Re: What languages do the best programmers use?

"What languages do the best programmers use?"

The one they're most comfortable with.
Good programmers come from all walks, but are the ones who try to continually learn, go to usergroups, and use the language they're comfortable with rather than what they're expected to know/learn, etc.
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Old 4th-December-2010, 07:33 PM   Latro's time 4th-December-2010, 02:33 PM    #5
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Default Re: What languages do the best programmers use?

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Originally Posted by James Black View Post
"What languages do the best programmers use?"

The one they're most comfortable with.
Good programmers come from all walks, but are the ones who try to continually learn, go to usergroups, and use the language they're comfortable with rather than what they're expected to know/learn, etc.
Eh...this is the other extreme, and it's just as wrong, IMO. It's not as fitting when you think about pretty decent languages, which most modern languages are, but if you're talking in philosophical terms then you can start talking about absolute abominations like COBOL that do not foster good programming, even when the user is comfortable.
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Old 5th-December-2010, 01:04 AM   jachian's time 4th-December-2010, 08:34 PM    #6
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Default Re: What languages do the best programmers use?

What languages do the best programmers Use?..............

C, C++ and assembly !!....

Because naturally the best programmers work as close to the hardware without having to deal with hardware issues.

The best programmers are systems programmers not applications programmers.
so embedded systems, operating systems and other such programs require you to know how to program very efficiently as far as memory and other resources are concerned. This type of programming is mostly done in the languages I mentioned.

This forces you to understand algorithms at a fundamental level and how to implement your own memory management regimes.

Learning to program with java, c# and many of the newer languages that automatically manage memory and have inbuild algorithms will generally not give you the opportunity to develop the skill level to abstract and solve tough problems in an efficient way...

And yes... efficiency is still very important and I believe that in 20 years time its going to be much more important now because the laws of physics dictate that their will be a limit to how much hardware can improve efficiency no matter how much memory and how many cores. As a matter of fact the more cores and memory the greater the overhead in addressing the memory space...... Therefore a deep knowledge of algorithm design and techniques that java and the rest dont encourage users to develop will become necessary.....
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Old 6th-December-2010, 02:40 PM   James Black's time 6th-December-2010, 09:40 AM    #7
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Default Re: What languages do the best programmers use?

@Latro: I believe someone who knows their stuff and uses COBOL could be a really good programmer. Granted, I'd pity them for their choice, and believe most decent programmers would choose a different language.

@Jachian: I really agree with your argument, actually. I prefer to use C# over pretty much any other language, but I know VB, C++, and Objective-C. C# and VB spoil me. They have garbage collection (so does ObjC actually, but its not enabled by default) and I can't recall ever touching pointers in C#. Ever. I think some amazing stuff can be done with these languages, but the experience of knowing something else like C/C++ definitely goes a long way.

Although, with that said, I still stand by my previous statement. A good programmer isn't made by the language. As I've heard many times, "typing isn't the hardest part of the job." If you can come up with the proper logic, and can find a way to express it within the syntax of your language, you'll be just as skilled as if you were using a different language, applying the same or similar logic to a different syntax.

Ironically, I would have thought that older programmers who have been programming on an old language for over a decade would do the best, but the leader board* shows a lot of students.

* http://ai-contest.com/rankings.php
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Old 6th-December-2010, 03:02 PM   stig's time 6th-December-2010, 10:02 AM    #8
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Default Re: What languages do the best programmers use?

The best programmers use the language that best fits the requirements for a specific project. Typically, I use the language I'm most comfortable in at the time, unless the requirements specifically state otherwise, the project pre-exists in another language, or I'm wanting to experiment with something new. I fit my description of "best programmer" years ago, but after spending more than 10 years with 80% of my time in Java, I fell into the trap of comfort.
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Old 15th-December-2010, 03:42 PM   RobdoR's time 15th-December-2010, 06:42 PM    #9
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Default Re: What languages do the best programmers use?

This xkcd comic seems appropriate:

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