Top positive review
61 people found this helpful
Sweet and Simple introduction to functional programming.
on May 30, 2004
This book by Smullyan is different from his other puzzle books,
in that it is fully about puzzles from functional programming.
The birds are functors that compute on strings.
Self reference comes into play when the Mockingbird
shows you what a fixpoint computation is.
The phethora of birds may confuse you if you try to read it
fast or skip solving the puzzles. The problems are not
easy, it took the mighty mathematical titans - Turing and Godel
to provide the initial solutions. If you are stuck,
Smullyan provides all the solutions at the chapter end.
It requires concentration and remembering previous tricks,
something akin to solving Rubik's cube without a solution guide.
You will love it if you love chess problems.
In the end you will come out with a deep sense of
accomplishment having understood the proof of Godel's
incompleteness theorems, Combinatorial Logic, and Functional
programming, when all you thought you were doing was figuring
out puzzles of birds.
Hard to find book, but its worth its weight in gold.
The other book to complement this is "Forever Undecided,
a puzzle guide to Godel" by Smullyan, it uses Modal logic
puzzles to motivate you, but the end result is the same.
Remember Smullyan is Professor of mathematics and logic,
he is classy and witty like Knuth. Don't confuse him
with the popular mathematical journalists.
- Mosh [...]