[plt-scheme] The Lambda Calculus behind functional programming

From: Jos Koot (jos.koot at telefonica.net)
Date: Wed Aug 29 14:43:06 EDT 2007

For me discovering Lambda Calculus (and combinatory logic) was fabulous in 
itself. It is beauty.
Whether or not it makes you a better programmer. I am inclined to think so, but 
I don't have any kind of evidence,
Anyway, when my friends ask me what I am doing these days, I have much trouble 
making an understandable answer.
My conclusion:
1: Lambda calculus is not the starting point of learning programming, I think.
2: At some stage you wonder: what are the essential principles of programming.
3: At that point lambda Calculus may be an answer.
4: Wait for your students to ask the question before answering it
5: Not all of us can claim to be as clever as Socrates, but asking questions is 
a good method to make your students ask the right questions.
6: I know I have failed on this many times
Jos Koot

((((lambda(x)((((((x x)x)x)x)x)x))
   (lambda(x)(lambda(y)(x(x y)))))
  (lambda(x)(write x)x))
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Grant Rettke" <grettke at acm.org>
To: "PLT Scheme" <plt-scheme at list.cs.brown.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 8:27 PM
Subject: [plt-scheme] The Lambda Calculus behind functional programming

> When I tell people that I'm learning Scheme the first thing they ask
> me is "So have you learned lambda calculus?". I've learned enough to
> say the words "lambda calculus" and that everyone says that lambda
> calculus is the theoretical backbone of functional programming; but
> that is it.
> The following question is a simple one, it makes no attempt to
> generalize whether anything is worth learning, I think you get the
> idea.
> So to revisit this again, what do you need to learn of the lambda
> calculus relative to FP?
> What would you tell folks about who have never looked at FP when they
> ask you about lambda calculus?
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