There are lots of academic papers on the merits of functional programming floating around. There's also a lot of debate that I see (on the internet) going on about the relative merits of imperative vs. functional programming.

I'm interested to know if that debate extends in academia with actual published papers (the more recent the better I think) discussing the advantages of imperative programming over functional programming.

  • 1
    Care to link to anywhere you have seen the debate happening?
    – Oded
    Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 20:33
  • 4
    Related: Why Functional Programming.
    – Adam Lear
    Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 20:34
  • this is the most recent instance that I have come across: apocalisp.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/…
    – gregghz
    Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 20:37
  • Hmm, well - This is somewhat like asking about the merits of SUVs over gas-sipping hatchbacks. It doesn't kindle the "vive la revolution" spirit IMHO. My 2¢ . Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 21:13
  • @greggory.hz: that's not an academic paper, it's some guy's blog. In general, stylistic arguments of "X is better than Y" are useless holy wars. Learn everything you can, discard what doesn't work for you. Commented Sep 12, 2011 at 3:35

1 Answer 1


Here is one: Imperative versus functional

It is from 1990 however, but by following citations you could find more recent ones.

This one only discusses some very basic benchmarking results, and is only cited once, so my previous advice won't get you far. :)

The problem is in order to do a proper comparison you first need to find actual things to compare. Benchmarks of similar applications would seem like a proper comparison, but this only compares languages and not the different paradigms per se. Even if you find a paper which finds a measurable aspect which could indicate that one paradigm trumps the other, this means the paradigm is only more suitable in that specific situation.

That's the same conclusion most people will give you here. One paradigm can be more suitable than the other based on the specific situation.

  • 2
    .. but it looks crappy and solely discusses benchmarking results. ;p Academic doesn't always mean better. ;p Commented Sep 11, 2011 at 21:15

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