Thursday, May 13, 2010

SEC, Python and Really, Truly, Describing a Process

Computer geeks are abuzz -- the the SEC has decided to require a Python program to model and describe some financial products.

Of course, there's the usual debate as to whether Python was the best language for the job. But I think that's missing the point. This is good news.

As usual, SICP says it best:

[W]e want to establish the idea that a computer language is not just a way of getting a computer to perform operations but rather that it is a novel formal medium for expressing ideas about methodology. Thus, programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.

If you want to express an idea, and do it in a way that is unambiguous and understandable by others, then there's no better way than writing a program. I'm sure this philosophy can and should be applied to other areas.

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