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Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

Brent Yorgey-2
Hi everyone,

I am currently teaching a half-credit introductory Haskell class for
undergraduates.  This is the second time I've taught it.  The last
time, for their final project I gave them the option of contributing
to an open-source project; a couple groups took me up on it and I
think it ended up being a modest success.

So I'd like to do it again this time around, and am looking for
particular projects I can suggest to them.  Do you have an open-source
project with a few well-specified tasks that a relative beginner (see
below) could reasonably make a contribution towards in the space of
about four weeks? I'm aware that most tasks don't fit that profile,
but even complex projects usually have a few "simple-ish" tasks that
haven't yet been done just because "no one has gotten around to it
yet".

If you have any such projects, I'd love to hear about it!  

Here are a few more details:

* The students will be working on the projects from approximately the
  end of this month through the end of April.

* By "relative beginner" I mean someone familiar with the material
  listed here: http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~cis194/lectures.html and just
  trying to come to terms with Applicative and Monad.  They definitely
  do not know much if anything about optimization/profiling, GADTs,
  the mtl, or Haskell-programming-in-the-large.  (Although part of the
  point of the project is to teach them a bit about
  programming-in-the-(medium/large)).

* What I would hope from you is a willingness to exchange email and/or
  chat with the student(s) over the course of the project, to give
  them a bit of guidance/mentoring.  I am certainly willing to help on
  that front, but of course I probably don't know much about your
  particular project.

thanks!
-Brent

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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

Christopher Done
On 16 March 2012 21:28, Brent Yorgey <[hidden email]> wrote:
> So I'd like to do it again this time around, and am looking for
> particular projects I can suggest to them.  Do you have an open-source
> project with a few well-specified tasks that a relative beginner (see
> below) could reasonably make a contribution towards in the space of
> about four weeks? I'm aware that most tasks don't fit that profile,
> but even complex projects usually have a few "simple-ish" tasks that
> haven't yet been done just because "no one has gotten around to it
> yet".

I have a bunch of small Haskell projects and I would enjoy helping
someone contribute to them. The problem would be finding projects that
are actually interesting to a student. The only ones I can think of,
that are trivial to work on, are:

* https://github.com/chrisdone/freenect  Requires a Kinect device
(your students have X-Box right?). This is my Kinect interface. Who
doesn't love devices with video and depth perception? Currently it
only supports depth perception, as that's all I wanted from it, but
one could fairly straight-forwardly add video support. This would
require some mentoring and helping along as it requires not only
Haskell knowledge, but it needs some C code and using the FFI. It took
me a weekend to figure out and write the depth perception part, with
help a newbie could tackle video within four weeks. Alternatively --
there's also the opportunity to write some simple motion detection
stuff with the existing code.

* https://github.com/chrisdone/stepeval This is benmachine's project
to evaluate Haskell in steps. It's currently on hpaste.org, but it's
rather incomplete. Fleshing this out to support more syntax would be
nice. Not sure if this is actually interesting to anyone else. But
it's a good way to solidify your understanding of Haskell's evaluation
model and syntax, maybe.

* https://github.com/chrisdone/css Making this very trivial CSS
library well-typed could be easy and useful.

* https://github.com/chrisdone/wordnik A little interface to the
Wordnik online dictionary service. I kinda started this but didn't
finish it. Once done though we can send it to Wordnik and they'll for
sure stick it on their libraries page.

* https://github.com/chrisdone/amelie (hpaste.org) The only one that
is relevant to the Haskell community, but I don't have any features
that need doing on it, as far as I'm aware. I think the code is fairly
easy to grok, though. Could be an opportunity for adding some feature,
and it'll be used by a fair chunk of the Haskell community.

* https://github.com/chrisdone/pgsql-simple The PostgreSQL library
that amelie uses, it's a raw tcp/ip socket interface to the server,
fairly trivial and yet interesting (to me) and useful. Needs more
authentication methods, and I have some opportunities for optimizing
some things. Tests and benchmarks for it would be good too, and
probably easy to write.

* https://github.com/chrisdone/hulk My IRC server that we use at work
could do with a better logging mechanism than a file full of JSON.
Probably a DB backend. I don't know if any student would care at all
about such a project.

Yeah… I don't really work on interesting projects, I won't bother
listing the rest. Nor are they a big deal for the community. I'm sure
the Hackage2 guys can do with some help. The ecosystem of Yesod,
Happstack and Snap always has a bunch of libraries that could do with
some fleshing out, I'd estimate. Another idea might be hacking on
Leksah, which can always have more features.

Ciao!

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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

Carter Schonwald
Hey Chris, 
I'm up for working on pg simple a bit, partly for my own ends.  Email me off list and I'll elaborate further, but one thing I'd  really like to do is flesh out the geometry/gis bits. 

--
Carter Tazio Schonwald

On Friday, March 16, 2012 at 5:07 PM, Christopher Done wrote:

On 16 March 2012 21:28, Brent Yorgey <[hidden email]> wrote:
So I'd like to do it again this time around, and am looking for
particular projects I can suggest to them.  Do you have an open-source
project with a few well-specified tasks that a relative beginner (see
below) could reasonably make a contribution towards in the space of
about four weeks? I'm aware that most tasks don't fit that profile,
but even complex projects usually have a few "simple-ish" tasks that
haven't yet been done just because "no one has gotten around to it
yet".

I have a bunch of small Haskell projects and I would enjoy helping
someone contribute to them. The problem would be finding projects that
are actually interesting to a student. The only ones I can think of,
that are trivial to work on, are:

* https://github.com/chrisdone/freenect Requires a Kinect device
(your students have X-Box right?). This is my Kinect interface. Who
doesn't love devices with video and depth perception? Currently it
only supports depth perception, as that's all I wanted from it, but
one could fairly straight-forwardly add video support. This would
require some mentoring and helping along as it requires not only
Haskell knowledge, but it needs some C code and using the FFI. It took
me a weekend to figure out and write the depth perception part, with
help a newbie could tackle video within four weeks. Alternatively --
there's also the opportunity to write some simple motion detection
stuff with the existing code.

* https://github.com/chrisdone/stepeval This is benmachine's project
to evaluate Haskell in steps. It's currently on hpaste.org, but it's
rather incomplete. Fleshing this out to support more syntax would be
nice. Not sure if this is actually interesting to anyone else. But
it's a good way to solidify your understanding of Haskell's evaluation
model and syntax, maybe.

* https://github.com/chrisdone/css Making this very trivial CSS
library well-typed could be easy and useful.

* https://github.com/chrisdone/wordnik A little interface to the
Wordnik online dictionary service. I kinda started this but didn't
finish it. Once done though we can send it to Wordnik and they'll for
sure stick it on their libraries page.

* https://github.com/chrisdone/amelie (hpaste.org) The only one that
is relevant to the Haskell community, but I don't have any features
that need doing on it, as far as I'm aware. I think the code is fairly
easy to grok, though. Could be an opportunity for adding some feature,
and it'll be used by a fair chunk of the Haskell community.

* https://github.com/chrisdone/pgsql-simple The PostgreSQL library
that amelie uses, it's a raw tcp/ip socket interface to the server,
fairly trivial and yet interesting (to me) and useful. Needs more
authentication methods, and I have some opportunities for optimizing
some things. Tests and benchmarks for it would be good too, and
probably easy to write.

* https://github.com/chrisdone/hulk My IRC server that we use at work
could do with a better logging mechanism than a file full of JSON.
Probably a DB backend. I don't know if any student would care at all
about such a project.

Yeah… I don't really work on interesting projects, I won't bother
listing the rest. Nor are they a big deal for the community. I'm sure
the Hackage2 guys can do with some help. The ecosystem of Yesod,
Happstack and Snap always has a bunch of libraries that could do with
some fleshing out, I'd estimate. Another idea might be hacking on
Leksah, which can always have more features.

Ciao!

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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

Heinrich Apfelmus
In reply to this post by Brent Yorgey-2
Brent Yorgey wrote:

>
> I am currently teaching a half-credit introductory Haskell class for
> undergraduates.  This is the second time I've taught it.  The last
> time, for their final project I gave them the option of contributing
> to an open-source project; a couple groups took me up on it and I
> think it ended up being a modest success.
>
> So I'd like to do it again this time around, and am looking for
> particular projects I can suggest to them.  Do you have an open-source
> project with a few well-specified tasks that a relative beginner (see
> below) could reasonably make a contribution towards in the space of
> about four weeks? I'm aware that most tasks don't fit that profile,
> but even complex projects usually have a few "simple-ish" tasks that
> haven't yet been done just because "no one has gotten around to it
> yet".

Finding a suitable project seems tricky to me as most "real-world"
projects usually involve at least one nasty corner like interfacing with
a C library, which is usually too hard for someone who just became
comfortable with the traditional list origami.


With that caveat, I do have a small task that may be suitable and that
is useful to me in the context of my reactive-banana library and my yet
undisclosed tomato-rubato project.

The task is to implement a small audio synthesizer in Haskell. Of
course, implementing high-performance audio synthesis is too challenging
a task for a Haskell beginner, but there is one particular approach that
I would like to see performance measurements of.

More specifically, the idea is the following:
1a. Implement a handful of combinators for generating audio as a lazy
list of samples

     type Audio = [Sample]

1b. Get it out of the speakers. (I can find a library for that.) This
will be slooow.
2. Implement the same handful of combinators for a different
representation, namely a lazy list of memory blocks with 64 samples each

     type Block = Data.Vector.Vector  -- 64 samples
     type Audio = [Block]

In other words, each block is filled in an aggressively optimized inner
loop while the blocks are shuffled around with ordinary Haskell functions.
3. Do performance measurements on 2 and test whether it can be run in
real-time.

So, the task does involve an external library and some knowledge about
GHC's optimization, but hopefully nothing too fancy.

How is this task useful for me? If the performance is good enough, I can
replace the lazy lists with  Event / Behavior  from reactive-banana ,
giving a real-time audio synthesizer in the style of functional reactive
programming. If it doesn't work out, then the students had a fun project
to work on, which is just as well.


Best regards,
Heinrich Apfelmus

--
http://apfelmus.nfshost.com


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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

serialhex
On Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM, Heinrich Apfelmus
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> The task is to implement a small audio synthesizer in Haskell.

seriously?!?!  i'm not in his class, but i'm game!  i learn better
when i'm working on something interesting, and i want to make my
(currently pretty pathetic) haskell better and i *LOOOVVVVEEEEE*
audio!  a haskell-based synth (or series of synths) would be really
spiffy!  what do i have to know / learn / do?

justin

--
*  The wise man said: "Never argue with an idiot. They bring you down
to their level and beat you with experience."
*  As a programmer, it is your job to put yourself out of business.
What you do today can be automated tomorrow. ~Doug McIlroy
No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.
---
CFO: “What happens if we train people and they leave?”
CTO: “What if we don’t and they stay?”

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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

Heinrich Apfelmus
serialhex wrote:
> On Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM, Heinrich Apfelmus
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> The task is to implement a small audio synthesizer in Haskell.
>
> seriously?!?!  i'm not in his class, but i'm game!  i learn better
> when i'm working on something interesting, and i want to make my
> (currently pretty pathetic) haskell better and i *LOOOVVVVEEEEE*
> audio!  a haskell-based synth (or series of synths) would be really
> spiffy!  what do i have to know / learn / do?

Well, it's up to you, really. You need to learn a bit how audio
synthesis works, for instance starting with the following links.

   http://www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk/acoustics_info/sound_synthesis/
   http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Sound_Synthesis_Theory
   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Sound_synthesis_types


Then, it's best to learn by programming various wave forms yourself and
playing around with them. I just finished implementing the necessary
Haskell backend for playing raw audio data. You can find it here:

   http://hackage.haskell.org/package/tomato-rubato-openal

The  testSine  function demonstrates how it works.


Best regards,
Heinrich Apfelmus

--
http://apfelmus.nfshost.com


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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

amindfv
     If you want to do Haskell audio synthesis, you could also use
hsc3 (good start here: http://slavepianos.org/rd/ut/hsc3-texts/). With
hsc3 you can start on serious audio synthesis with only a few lines of
Haskell. In my opinion it could use a much larger community.

Tom


On 3/22/12, Heinrich Apfelmus <[hidden email]> wrote:

> serialhex wrote:
>> On Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM, Heinrich Apfelmus
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> The task is to implement a small audio synthesizer in Haskell.
>>
>> seriously?!?!  i'm not in his class, but i'm game!  i learn better
>> when i'm working on something interesting, and i want to make my
>> (currently pretty pathetic) haskell better and i *LOOOVVVVEEEEE*
>> audio!  a haskell-based synth (or series of synths) would be really
>> spiffy!  what do i have to know / learn / do?
>
> Well, it's up to you, really. You need to learn a bit how audio
> synthesis works, for instance starting with the following links.
>
>    http://www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk/acoustics_info/sound_synthesis/
>    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Sound_Synthesis_Theory
>    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Sound_synthesis_types
>
>
> Then, it's best to learn by programming various wave forms yourself and
> playing around with them. I just finished implementing the necessary
> Haskell backend for playing raw audio data. You can find it here:
>
>    http://hackage.haskell.org/package/tomato-rubato-openal
>
> The  testSine  function demonstrates how it works.
>
>
> Best regards,
> Heinrich Apfelmus
>
> --
> http://apfelmus.nfshost.com
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
>

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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

amindfv
Sorry; make that http://slavepianos.org/rd/ut/hsc3-texts/hsc3-tutorial.html

On 3/22/12, Tom Murphy <[hidden email]> wrote:

>      If you want to do Haskell audio synthesis, you could also use
> hsc3 (good start here: http://slavepianos.org/rd/ut/hsc3-texts/). With
> hsc3 you can start on serious audio synthesis with only a few lines of
> Haskell. In my opinion it could use a much larger community.
>
> Tom
>
>
> On 3/22/12, Heinrich Apfelmus <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> serialhex wrote:
>>> On Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM, Heinrich Apfelmus
>>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>> The task is to implement a small audio synthesizer in Haskell.
>>>
>>> seriously?!?!  i'm not in his class, but i'm game!  i learn better
>>> when i'm working on something interesting, and i want to make my
>>> (currently pretty pathetic) haskell better and i *LOOOVVVVEEEEE*
>>> audio!  a haskell-based synth (or series of synths) would be really
>>> spiffy!  what do i have to know / learn / do?
>>
>> Well, it's up to you, really. You need to learn a bit how audio
>> synthesis works, for instance starting with the following links.
>>
>>    http://www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk/acoustics_info/sound_synthesis/
>>    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Sound_Synthesis_Theory
>>    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Sound_synthesis_types
>>
>>
>> Then, it's best to learn by programming various wave forms yourself and
>> playing around with them. I just finished implementing the necessary
>> Haskell backend for playing raw audio data. You can find it here:
>>
>>    http://hackage.haskell.org/package/tomato-rubato-openal
>>
>> The  testSine  function demonstrates how it works.
>>
>>
>> Best regards,
>> Heinrich Apfelmus
>>
>> --
>> http://apfelmus.nfshost.com
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Haskell-Cafe mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/haskell-cafe
>>
>

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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

erik flister
In reply to this post by Heinrich Apfelmus
> giving
> a real-time audio synthesizer in the style of functional reactive
> programming.

you know about yampasynth right?

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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

Heinrich Apfelmus
erik flister wrote:
>> giving
>> a real-time audio synthesizer in the style of functional reactive
>> programming.
>
> you know about yampasynth right?

Yes. In fact, their glue code was extremely helpful for understanding
OpenAL. As for the FRP, I prefer a style without arrows, though, see my
reactive-banana library.


Best regards,
Heinrich Apfelmus

--
http://apfelmus.nfshost.com


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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

Heinrich Apfelmus
In reply to this post by amindfv
Tom Murphy wrote:
>      If you want to do Haskell audio synthesis, you could also use
> hsc3 (good start here: http://slavepianos.org/rd/ut/hsc3-texts/). With
> hsc3 you can start on serious audio synthesis with only a few lines of
> Haskell. In my opinion it could use a much larger community.

While Rohan's bindings to SuperCollider are great, I have found that
SuperCollider itself is quite difficult to understand for a new user.
(My tomata-rubato project aims to be much easier to learn.)

Also, as far as I am aware, you can't do low-level audio programming in
SuperCollider, i.e. play a list of samples that you've calculated
yourself. That's cool if you're only interested in sound design, but bad
for learning how audio programming works.


Best regards,
Heinrich Apfelmus

--
http://apfelmus.nfshost.com


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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

paul r-2
In reply to this post by Christopher Done
Chris> * https://github.com/chrisdone/pgsql-simple The PostgreSQL library
Chris> that amelie uses, it's a raw tcp/ip socket interface to the server,
Chris> fairly trivial and yet interesting (to me) and useful. Needs more
Chris> authentication methods, and I have some opportunities for optimizing
Chris> some things. Tests and benchmarks for it would be good too, and
Chris> probably easy to write.

For some reasons, I like very much this project. Beside being useful, it
has the potential to demonstrate a lot of the haskell power : easy
concurrency, good parsing, nice combinator-based interface.


--
  Paul

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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

Yves Parès-3
In reply to this post by Heinrich Apfelmus
Plus yampa hasn't been maintained for more than 3 years, and I lacks documentation, which makes it a bad choice for beginners.
I don't even know what is the future of that project...

Le 23 mars 2012 09:22, Heinrich Apfelmus <[hidden email]> a écrit :
erik flister wrote:
giving
a real-time audio synthesizer in the style of functional reactive
programming.

you know about yampasynth right?

Yes. In fact, their glue code was extremely helpful for understanding OpenAL. As for the FRP, I prefer a style without arrows, though, see my reactive-banana library.



Best regards,
Heinrich Apfelmus

--
http://apfelmus.nfshost.com


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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

John Lato-2
In reply to this post by Brent Yorgey-2
> From: Heinrich Apfelmus <[hidden email]>
>
> Tom Murphy wrote:
>>      If you want to do Haskell audio synthesis, you could also use
>> hsc3 (good start here: http://slavepianos.org/rd/ut/hsc3-texts/). With
>> hsc3 you can start on serious audio synthesis with only a few lines of
>> Haskell. In my opinion it could use a much larger community.
>
> While Rohan's bindings to SuperCollider are great, I have found that
> SuperCollider itself is quite difficult to understand for a new user.
> (My tomata-rubato project aims to be much easier to learn.)
>
> Also, as far as I am aware, you can't do low-level audio programming in
> SuperCollider, i.e. play a list of samples that you've calculated
> yourself. That's cool if you're only interested in sound design, but bad
> for learning how audio programming works.

I think this charge is a bit unfair.  If you really want to do
low-level stuff, it's possible within SC.  You just have to work in
SuperCollider, not Haskell (AFAIK).

However, it is possible to transfer audio data between Haskell and
Csound, in several ways.  The hCsound package comes with some examples
of transferring the audio input and output streams between csound and
haskell.  Named channels provide for even more complicated routing if
you like.

John L.

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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

Alp Mestanogullari
In reply to this post by Brent Yorgey-2
Hi Brent,

Would scoutess [1] fit there? There still are *many* things to do in scoutess, and these things can be split up in pretty simple tasks. And when you say 4 weeks, you mean aside from the other courses they have I guess?

[1] http://patch-tag.com/r/alpmestan/scoutess/wiki/ 

On Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM, Brent Yorgey <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi everyone,

I am currently teaching a half-credit introductory Haskell class for
undergraduates.  This is the second time I've taught it.  The last
time, for their final project I gave them the option of contributing
to an open-source project; a couple groups took me up on it and I
think it ended up being a modest success.

So I'd like to do it again this time around, and am looking for
particular projects I can suggest to them.  Do you have an open-source
project with a few well-specified tasks that a relative beginner (see
below) could reasonably make a contribution towards in the space of
about four weeks? I'm aware that most tasks don't fit that profile,
but even complex projects usually have a few "simple-ish" tasks that
haven't yet been done just because "no one has gotten around to it
yet".

If you have any such projects, I'd love to hear about it!

Here are a few more details:

* The students will be working on the projects from approximately the
 end of this month through the end of April.

* By "relative beginner" I mean someone familiar with the material
 listed here: http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~cis194/lectures.html and just
 trying to come to terms with Applicative and Monad.  They definitely
 do not know much if anything about optimization/profiling, GADTs,
 the mtl, or Haskell-programming-in-the-large.  (Although part of the
 point of the project is to teach them a bit about
 programming-in-the-(medium/large)).

* What I would hope from you is a willingness to exchange email and/or
 chat with the student(s) over the course of the project, to give
 them a bit of guidance/mentoring.  I am certainly willing to help on
 that front, but of course I probably don't know much about your
 particular project.

thanks!
-Brent

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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

Heinrich Apfelmus
In reply to this post by John Lato-2
John Lato wrote:

>> From: Heinrich Apfelmus
>>
>> Also, as far as I am aware, you can't do low-level audio programming in
>> SuperCollider, i.e. play a list of samples that you've calculated
>> yourself. That's cool if you're only interested in sound design, but bad
>> for learning how audio programming works.
>
> I think this charge is a bit unfair.  If you really want to do
> low-level stuff, it's possible within SC.  You just have to work in
> SuperCollider, not Haskell (AFAIK).

Ah, right, I meant from within Haskell, i.e. by communicating with the
SC3 server component. Even in SC you have to write unit generators in C,
I think, but I may well be mistaken.

> However, it is possible to transfer audio data between Haskell and
> Csound, in several ways.  The hCsound package comes with some examples
> of transferring the audio input and output streams between csound and
> haskell.  Named channels provide for even more complicated routing if
> you like.

I didn't know about the hCsound package, that might have saved me some work.


Best regards,
Heinrich Apfelmus

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Re: Open-source projects for beginning Haskell students?

stefan kersten-2
On 25.03.12 09:38, Heinrich Apfelmus wrote:

> John Lato wrote:
>>> From: Heinrich Apfelmus
>>>
>>> Also, as far as I am aware, you can't do low-level audio programming in
>>> SuperCollider, i.e. play a list of samples that you've calculated
>>> yourself. That's cool if you're only interested in sound design, but bad
>>> for learning how audio programming works.
>>
>> I think this charge is a bit unfair.  If you really want to do
>> low-level stuff, it's possible within SC.  You just have to work in
>> SuperCollider, not Haskell (AFAIK).
>
> Ah, right, I meant from within Haskell, i.e. by communicating with the SC3
> server component. Even in SC you have to write unit generators in C, I think,
> but I may well be mistaken.

there's a more functional option, too: faust [1] ;)

<sk>

[1] http://faust.grame.fr/index.php/documentation/what-faust

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