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On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 05:07:05AM +0900, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky wrote:
> 
> 2. That was pretty much that until computers and programming languages
> came on the scene. But in the olden days, when every electron was
> precious and compactness and efficiency were of the utmost import, it
> turned out that *reverse* Polish notation was *slightly* more
> efficient. If you look at a parser for algebraic expressions and the
> resulting run-time execution engine, you'll see that.

More than that -- and still relevant today -- parsers for Polish notation
are generally more difficult to *write*.  I know -- I've tried designing
both Polish notation parsers and RPN parsers.  In fact, Polish notation
parsers are more difficult to write for essentially the same reason that
RPN parsers are slightly more efficient from the machine's point of view.


> 
> 3. Lisp used prefix notation because McCarthy was a disciple of Church
> and Church used it. Forth used reverse Polish notation because Chuck
> Moore had taken apart the Burroughs compilers and stack architecture
> and determined that it was the way to go for maximum compactness and
> efficiency.

McCarthy was really ahead of his time.  Even Common Lisp and Scheme
haven't caught up with his vision.

-- 
Chad Perrin [ content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
Just tao it.  http://tao.apotheon.org

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