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I just started looking at Standard ML so I could understand the examples in Purely Functional Data Structures. There's something very pleasing in the simplicity of its syntax.

Anybody have experience in applying it to larger problems?

That is a fantastic book, also 'ML for the working programmer' is really good [1]. I always wanted to use SML in anger, but the lack of third party libraries is a major hindrance. Today I think one is better served using OCaml, F#, or Clojure (this is not intended to be an exhaustive list) if a highly productive functional language is desired.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/ML-Working-Programmer-2nd-Edition/dp/0...

Yeah, I used it industrially for a brief period, using it to do theorem proving on hardware descriptions. Pleasing is the right word, especially the clean syntax, close-to-pure functional nature, type signatures and type inference. At the time the tools were immature so it might not have been the best idea, but they've had some time to settle down.

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