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The great attractiveness of purely functional languages is their ability to depart from sequential order of computation. Theoretically, it enables two important features of the compiler: ...
The great attractiveness of purely functional languages is their ability to depart from sequential order of computation. Theoretically, it enables two important features of the compiler:
1) The ability to reorder computation flow, making the program implicitly parallelisable. Modern imperative language compilers, even using careful synchronization of concurrent code, still generate huge chunks of sequential instructions that need to be executed on a single processor core; a purely functional language compilers can dispatch very small chunks to many (hundreds and thousands) of cores, carefully eliminating as many execution path dependencies as possible.
2) As the compiler formalizes different types of side effects, it can detect a whole new class of program errors at compile time, including resource acquisition and releasing problems, concurrent access to shared resources, many types of deadlocks etc. It is not yet a full-fledged program verification, but it is a big step in that direction.
Scala is a semi-imperative language with strong support for functional programming and rich type system. One can isolate the purely functional core of the language which can be put on the firm mathematical foundation of dependent type theories. We argue that it is possible to treat Scala code as it's written by now as an implicit do-notation which can be then reduced to a purely functional core by means of recently introduced Scala macros. The formalism of arrows and applicative contexts can bring Scala to a full glory of an implicitly parallelisable programming language, while still keeping its syntax mostly unchanged.