Julia dreams

The latest buzz in the technical computing circles, seems to be about the language Julia. A language aimed to be a crossover between R and Matlab, it has been generating a lot of interest around the interwebz, for example here, here, here, and here – and those are just the ones that showed up in my Google Reader.

However, Julia has only been available for a few platforms till now, OS X, FreeBSD, and Linux. Last week, a Windows binary was made available, and I decided that this was too much temptation to resist.

The steps to your writing your first program and running it under Windows 7 (64-bit) are simple. Download the tarball, unzip, and run the “julia.bat” file for interactive mode, or write your .jl programs for non-interactive mode.

Here is a simple example

# filename: first.jl
# purpose: first program in Julia
# author: informationmatrix
# date revised: 15th august 2012

dA = 2+2
println(dA)
sH = "Hello World!"
println(sH)

Run this program on the command line using

julia "./julia-examples/first.jl"

And that is it.

A lot is being made of the fact that Julia’s just-in-time interpreter makes striking speedups possible, and I hope to explore those speedups for econometric problems in the near future. By the way, the resemblance of the code to Matlab is pretty striking but we are asked to ignore the similarity.

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