PyConUK 2007 Day 2 Part 1

[References added 18th September]

No longer live from the conference here is the first part of day 2. Again it needs referencing up and I will try and get this done by the end of the week. (Honest. I will. No really.)

Introduction to Functional Programming in Python

After a hearty and lively conference dinner on the Saturday night it was gratifying to see a good turn out at 09:00 on the Sunday for this talk by David Jones of Ravenbrook (One of the sponsors of the conference).

In a half-hour slot David gave a good comparison of the functional and the imperative (object orientated) approach and looked at the built in support that python has for the functional approach. He had a lucid and expressive style and obviously had a good command of the subject.

What was interesting was the way that caching can be used for pre-calculated results. The example he used was the classic Fibonacci series calculator using recursion. Without caching, fib(30) took a second of compute time, with caching this was down to a few ten thousands of a second which was comparable to the imperative for loop equivalent.

Unfortunately half an hour was only enough time to whet the appetite and you could sense the audience was itching to see more and ask more questions. I would have loved to have seen the sorts of real world problems for which the functional approach can be most effective.

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