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Old 03-13-2003, 07:48 PM
Continuously Discrete Continuously Discrete is offline
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I am interested in learning some APL. Will this benefit me in the actuarial field? I heard some actuaries use this language, but I wonder how wide spread it is used.
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Old 03-13-2003, 10:16 PM
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I used APL when I worked for another company several years ago. Its use was rather widespread in the actuarial community then. I have no idea whether that is still the case.

I used it in writing programs to produce reserve factors that were then keyed into spreadsheets or loaded onto the mainframe.

It can be a very useful language for writing actuarial programs, since it is very effective in working with tables; however, the code is quite cryptic and is difficult to interpret if not well-documented.
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Old 03-14-2003, 11:54 AM
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APL is currently on its deathbed. If it weren't for PTS it would have been dead long ago.

Since most companies are MS shops, VBA is the way to go. Learn to write good code in C, Perl, Fortran etc. and you'll be able to adapt. The only problem I see with VB is that it allows you to write spagetti code. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
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Old 03-18-2003, 10:22 AM
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I use APL every day and not for PTS. I find that the speed with which I can code up something is much greater than in any other language. I don't find I have much overhead in setting up code. I can just jump right in and get something done in a couple of minutes most times. Of course, I have been using APL for nearly 20 years, so I have had some time to practice.
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Old 03-18-2003, 12:41 PM
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Matlab and Octave carry over many benefits from APL.
1) Matrix language - Operations builtin
2) small amount of code to type compared to c or c++
3) execution is very fast

The new version of Matlab implimented a Just-In-Time Complier that speeds up for loop almost to the speed of c/c++. How's tht for a fourth generation language.

APL might be on its way out, Matlab is used by many industries: financial, engeneering, etc... More info can be found at www.mathworks.com.

Stephen
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Old 03-19-2003, 08:10 AM
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I use APL daily. Most of our current programming for pricing and reserve calculation is in APL. I also use APL to write much of my ad hoc work; it is quick and easy to write, and it is cheap, so I expect it will remain common in the actuarial world for a long time. (I've been using APL for less than 2 years; it isn't that hard to learn.)

If you're going to use APL, learn to document your work thoroughly. One of the disadvantages of APL is that it is quite difficult to read.
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Old 03-19-2003, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamChevre
If you're going to use APL, learn to document your work thoroughly.
Excellent advice no matter what programming language you are using!


Brad
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