Actuarial Outpost
Go Back   Actuarial Outpost > Actuarial Discussion Forum > Software & Technology
FlashChat Actuarial Discussion Preliminary Exams CAS/SOA Exams Cyberchat Around the World Suggestions

Browse Open Actuarial Jobs

Life  Health  Casualty  Pension  Entry Level  All Jobs  Salaries

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-13-2003, 07:48 PM
Continuously Discrete Continuously Discrete is offline
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 147
Default APL Question

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.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-2003, 10:16 PM
Dorothy Dorothy is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 95

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.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-14-2003, 11:54 AM
Jack's Avatar
Jack Jack is offline
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: 100 Luten Avenue, 10312
Studying for Life
Favorite beer: Free Beer
Posts: 14,883

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.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2003, 10:22 AM
Old Timer's Avatar
Old Timer Old Timer is offline
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: The Great East
Posts: 2,048

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.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2003, 12:41 PM
StephenLL StephenLL is offline
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 62

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

Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2003, 08:10 AM
SamChevre's Avatar
SamChevre SamChevre is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,151

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.
Liberals tend to view themselves as live-and-let-live people.... We’re the nice guys. We believe in tolerance, diversity, and letting people be what they have to be. It’s hard for us to credit the idea that someone could be afraid of us.

Someone is. And for good reasons. Understanding that uncomfortable fact is the first step towards grasping what has been going on in this country’s politics for the last quarter century.
Red Family, Blue Family
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2003, 09:54 AM
Brad Gile's Avatar
Brad Gile Brad Gile is offline
Join Date: Sep 2001
Studying for whatever I feel like
College: Alumnus of Brown and UW-Madison
Posts: 11,341

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!

"Karate ni sente nashi. There is no first strike in karate."-Gichin Funakoshi
"Neither is there a second!"-Brad Gile
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:51 PM.

Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
*PLEASE NOTE: Posts are not checked for accuracy, and do not
represent the views of the Actuarial Outpost or its sponsors.
Page generated in 0.39553 seconds with 11 queries