Join the M Revolution

Luis Ibáñez | | February 2, 2012

M is a multi-user, strongly imperative language designed to manipulate and control massive databases. It is used in the high availability, high reliability niche of the computer market—which includes banking and hospitals. It provides simple data abstractions, in which all data values are strings of characters, and all data can be structured as multiple dimensional arrays. M data structures are sparse, using strings of characters as subscripts. M is itself a language combined with a database engine...

Would programming in M help me get a job?

  1. More than 80 percent of hospitals in the US do not have electronic health records (EHRs). Instead, they still run on paper forms [1].
  2. Hospitals are being given monetary incentives for adopting EHRs in the next few years. Some will also be subject to penalties if they do not adopt EHRs by certain dates [5].
  3. The largest EHR systems currently deployed in the US are written in M, including VistA (Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture). VistA is the system that currently manages all hospitals and ambulatory care facilities run by the Department of Veterans Affairs [6].
  4. Deploying EHRs in hospitals will require of tens of thousands of developers over the next few years.

Institutions using M include: AmeriPath (now part of Quest Diagnostics), Care Centric, Epic Systems Corporation, EMIS, Partners HealthCare, MEDITECH, GE Healthcare (formerly IDX Systems and Centricity), Hospitals of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and the Indian Health Service. Among the financial users are: Ameritrade, the largest online trading service in the US with over 12 billion transactions per day, as well as by the Bank of England and Barclays Bank...