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Re: Update: Teaching Perl in the Humanities

by g0n (Priest)
on Feb 25, 2005 at 09:49 UTC ( #434414=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Update: Teaching Perl in the Humanities

Perl gets an explicit citation in my (Computational Psychology) MSc dissertation because it was so heavily used in data preparation and translation. Some of the tasks perl was used for:

  • Translating between alpha letters and binary representations for a PDP model
  • An interactive script to assign 'features' to patterns
  • CGI scripts to collect & collate input from participants in a side study
  • Converting data from format used by SNNS to format used by Xerion when I switched modelling software
  • Converting output data from Xerion's output format to something the stats software could handle
  • interpolating human readable 'tags' for the output, in place of the index numbers of the data from the Xerion input file (hurray for the Hash!)
If I could have done the PDP modelling (Neural networks, for those not familiar with the term) in perl I would have done. I tried, the results of which are on CPAN. Likewise, if I could have done the 6 way ANOVA in perl that would have been easier, since I could have changed the code to recognise a within subjects study when it saw one! (Maybe a project for the future).

Perl is the most powerful and flexible tool in my toolbox, both professionally as a code monkey and academically as a student of psychology & language.

One of the ways Perl scores, and this might be worth bearing in mind for teaching/promoting it in your field, is the ability to both write simple linear scripts to perform a given task, and to develop complex fully functional applications, in the same language, and with full interoperability.

The other thing I would stress is CPAN - if something can be done, someones probably written a module to do it

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