An Introduction to Functional Programming Through Lambda by Greg Michaelson

By Greg Michaelson

Sensible programming is rooted in lambda calculus, which constitutes the world's smallest programming language. This well-respected textual content bargains an obtainable creation to practical programming suggestions and strategies for college students of arithmetic and machine technology. The remedy is as nontechnical as attainable, and it assumes no previous wisdom of arithmetic or useful programming. Cogent examples light up the principal principles, and diverse workouts seem through the textual content, providing reinforcement of key strategies. All difficulties characteristic entire options.

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Additional resources for An Introduction to Functional Programming Through Lambda Calculus (Dover Books on Mathematics)

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Solving a problem involves carrying out operations on values. Different values are used to solve different instances of a problem. If the values for a particular instance were built into the program, then they would have to be changed when the program was used to solve a different instance. 33 A fruitful approach to problem analysis is to try to identify a general case of the problem. Programming languages enable the implementation of general case solutions through the use of names to stand for arbitrary values.

Here we will use λ calculus to construct step-by-step a compact, general purpose functional programming notation. SUMMARY • Imperative languages are based on assignment sequences whereas functional languages are based on nested function calls. • In imperative languages, the same name may be associated with several values, whereas in functional languages a name is only associated with one value. • Imperative languages have fixed evaluation orders whereas functional languages need not. 56 • In imperative languages, new values may be associated with the same name through command repetition whereas in functional languages new names are associated with new values through recursive function call nesting.

This may lead to problems when imperative languages allow side effects – changes to variables made by expressions, for example, when a function changes a non-local variable by assignment to one of its parameters or to a global variable. If the order in which subexpressions are evaluated is unpredictable, then the order in which side effects occur is unpredictable. This makes it very hard to understand, develop and debug programs which utilize them. If commands’ expressions do not refer to each other, then the command execution order does not matter.

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