We've been looking at data submitted by readers registering interest in the F#.NET Journal:
The two most popular languages cited are C# and C++. No surprise there, perhaps. The C++ programmers are probably interested in learning something higher-level, with garbage collection and so forth. The C# programmers might be interested in leveraging F# for its integral support for interactivity, built-in numerical types, type inference and (more recently) beautiful support for asynchronous programming.
However, the next most popular language for people wanting to learn F# is Lisp. We found that quite surprising, for one because we didn't realise so many people knew Lisp. These guys are probably yearning for pattern matching, better performance, .NET interoperability and the elimination of run-time errors.
Of the submissions, around half cited performance critical applications as their domain. Compilation to native code is a major benefit here but F# also provides easy interoperability with native-code libraries like LAPACK and FFTW, some superb numerical libraries for .NET like the Extreme Optimization library from Numeric Edge as well as some wierd and wonderful options like compilation of F# to GPU using Accelerator.
Overall, the stage looks set for F# to make a serious impact on the way scientific computing is done, with a bewildering array of exciting projects in all of the major disciplines of science and engineering. Sounds like everyone wants F#.
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