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An Introduction to Functional Programming Through Lambda Calculus (Dover Books on Mathematics) Kindle Edition
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* If you are familiar with Computer Science lexicon, the content itself is probably acceptable.
* The presentation is miserable.
* It reads like a 1980s programming textbook.
* All the examples that are not expressed in Lambda Calculus are written in Pascal. WTF?
* Very little to no theoretical work is done to explain the Lambda Calculus. For example, I wanted an explanation working through the definition of the natural numbers, specifically examining how 1 and the successor function S are defined. Nothing like that was to be found.
* It's basically a laundry list of ways you can work with Lambda Calculus, not an introduction to thinking about Lambda Calculus.
Bottom line, it's a book on functional programming using examples in Lambda Calculus and Pascal. It's not about Lambda Calculus, it's about ways it is possible to structure functional programming. That's probably my fault for thinking that I would get a book about Lambda Calculus using functional programming to explain it, but this book would not satisfy my expectations for functional programming either.
So even though this is an old book, there's not a whole lot about it that's dated. If anything, it's dated in a very good way: it doesn't use academic language or assume you know a lot of programming concepts (many of which hadn't even been invented, so maybe that's part of it) or anything like that. It's easy to follow along with and lambda calculus is actually kind of fun. It's such a trivially simple method of calculating, but with thought you can create some very high-level math and programming ideas and see how they play out.
By the way, no math knowledge is required to understand this book. Honestly, all you really need to know is the basic concept of addition and multiplication since the author will be implementing addition and multiplication functions. Other than that, there's no reason an absolute beginning to math or programming couldn't pick up this book. You might have to read the second chapter a second time after you get the hang of it.
I want to give it five stars, but it was hard getting going like I mentioned. However, you can easily overcome that by finding and introductory article online or something. Nothing's perfect, but I'm very glad I bought this book.
For a novel take on similar material, I recommend the puzzles of Raymond Smullyan, particularly his collection "Satan, Cantor, and Infinity".
Most recent customer reviews
1. Introduces lambda calculus and goes through examples of evaluating expressions