The big event of the autumn was APL2010 in Berlin, another encouraging revival of an international conference series. (The second of the revived Minnowbrook invitation-only implementers conferences was also held in October. Sadly Vector had no reporter there.)
Roger Hui delivered a eulogy in Berlin for Eugene McDonnell, stalwart of the APL Press, which we are pleased to reprint here. Vector readers will know Gene for his long-running column “At Play With J”, collected and republished by Vector Books, which he lived to see run into its second edition. We salute Eugene McDonnell’s life and work.
This issue includes several reports from Berlin, including an unapologetically contentious one from Graeme Robertson, and a review of 2010 from our chairman, Paul Grosvenor.
Published literature on the q language has been scarcer than hens’ teeth, with most practitioners swaddled in corporate non-disclosure agreements. Fittingly, it was Jan Karman in the Netherlands who broke the dam last issue with the first of his series “Financial math in q”. We have part two in this issue.
Even more exciting, we have a new occasional column “No Stinking Loops” by the legendary Stevan Apter. Apter, who works in a cabin deep in the woods of upstate New York, is one of the programmers Jeffry Borror (author of q for Mortals dubbed “the q gods”. His first article explores some sophisticated techniques for handling tree tables.
Norman Thomson’s “J-ottings” column reviews punctuation and rank, key concepts in the J language. Howard Peelle’s series “Backgammon tools in J” continues with an analysis of wastage. Neville Holmes’ series “Functional calculation in J” considers the year 1998, and Neville also offers a commentary on his own proposals for a commodities calculator. Keith Smillie tackles the famous World War II Enigma cypher machine with J and his own wits. And John McInturff finds ways in J to express odd-order magic squares.
Phil Last introduces the Phrasebook Project, a polyglot version of the idiom lists with which so many of us started learning APL. And our indefatigable production manager, Kai Jaeger, recipient of this year’s BAA award for outstanding contribution to APL, explains how to embed fonts in web pages, essential for displaying APL expressions on machines with no APL font installed.