The Haskell programming language is a general-purpose, purely functional programming language. Functional programming differs from procedural (or imperative) programming in that instead of a list of procedures, operating and modifying values allocated in memory, functional programs treats a program as the computation of interrelated function return values and avoids changing-states and mutable data. Not having multiple states, and shared mutable data enable significant run-time advantages in parallel programming for multi-core CPU systems.
That is, in a Haskell program you must deal explicitly with data flow in the program. Two separate components of the system cannot communicate by writing & reading to a global variable (as an imperative language like C++ or Java would). Functions are evaluated and return values subsequently piped into the next functional layer. It is strongly statically typed, which minimizes runtime errors and ensures the passing of valid function arguments — this lends to Haskell being useful in rapid-prototyping.
Functional programming and the underlying mathematical principles of λ- calculus are popular in the Computer Science undergraduate learning experience. Other prominent functional languages in common-use include Common Lisp, Scheme & Erlang. Understanding the underlying principles and advantages of functional programming are the reason computer programmers have high praise for Haskell, often citing it as a “perspective changing experience”.
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