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An Introduction to Functional Programming Through Lambda Calculus
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An Introduction to Functional Programming Through Lambda Calculus

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Functional programming is rooted in lambda calculus, which constitutes the worlds smallest programming language. This well-respected text offers an accessible introduction to functional programming concepts and techniques for students of mathematics and computer science. The treatment is as nontechnical as possible, and it assumes no prior knowledge of mathematics or funct ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 18th 2011 by Dover Publications (first published February 1989)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Kiran Gangadharan
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good introduction to Lambda Calculus. It establishes the theory and concepts in the first two chapters and then takes the reader on a journey to understand how a more powerful high level language could be constructed from a simple foundation. Finally, it concludes with a short introduction to ML and Lisp.
Tom Schulte
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Probably, imperative programming is the inevitable professional path of the budding programmer that picks up this book. However, the career programmer can benefit from seeing how “the other half lives”. As one who has trained and hired software engineers over the years, I have seen that a mindset of iteration and conditional statements can often lead to inefficient designs. Someone with only an introductory knowledge of LISP or Haskell or general declarative principles as outlined here often can ...more
Aufar Gilbran
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: computer-science
Good book on how functional programming and lambda calculus relates. It specifically mentions that it will not cover language / compiler construction for functional languages, but I feel that the content is broad enough for the reader to connect the dots (with a little bit of additional research) on how to construct such language / compiler.

It covers introduction to lambda calculus too so it's quite a good book if you have no exposure to lambda calculus. It's guided to introduce functional progr
...more
Stijn
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: it
Excellent introduction on how to build core programming language aspects from pure lambda calculus. The Lambda calculus techniques could me more detailed, but that's not the point of this book I guess.

The ending chapters are less interesting, as they provide little fundamental insights anymore. The chapters on ML and Lisp I only skimmed through briefly and could have been omitted for me.
...more
Phil Eaton
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent coverage of practical lambda calculus. However the model gets hand-wavier over time without looking at a concrete implementation. And the type checking is only ever introduced at runtime.

The last two chapters cover Standard ML and Common Lisp and don't really add much. There's little more to be wished for, perhaps in a book dedicated to Hindley-Milner unification.
...more
Jakub
Apr 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting in the beginning, but the book got boring pretty quick. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood, but I didn't really enjoy reading it that much. I'll probably have to look at it again in a few months to see if I really missed something. ...more
Alejandro
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book to understand the underpinings of functional languages such as Elm, Haskell or F#.

Working through the exercises is hard but worth it for the comprehension it provides.

Eric
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The eBook was poorly formatted at times, and this had more hand holding than I would’ve liked, but was overall a good read. “Introduction” is accurate.
Chetan Vashisht
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book on understanding Lambda calculus, starting from the basics all the way upto programming in Lisp. The book is great, but expects that you are not easily frightened by greek alphabets!

I tried understanding the Y combinator multiple times (starting in 2016). But it wasn't until a few weeks ago when I read about it here, did I finally understand it properly. I think it's very important to understand the why of things before simply diving into it.

Anyway, great book especially the first
...more
Anthony O'Connor
Uninspiring

It is very hard to write a great text on programming of any type and good instances are rare. This book isn’t one of them. You can plough your way through it and gain some value. But a few really good examples would have been useful. There is some interesting historical background and theoretical context but only a bit. The sketches of ML and Lisp in relation to the lambda calculus are without much value unless you already know ML and Lisp. So overall - pretty solid but nothing to get
...more
Bruce Richardson
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book begins with an explanation of the basic principles of the Lambda calculus and moves swiftly to clear demonstrations of how familiar programming concepts can be expressed in it. Later on, it shows how complex abstractions expressed in Lambda Calculus can be translated into Common Lisp or SML.

This is the best and most practical book I've found for teaching Lambda Calculus to programmers in a way that will shape their coding habits.
...more
Sean
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book has an excellent learning curve and takes you from very simple untyped lambda calculus and builds up at a nice speed towards defining something which, if you squint your eyes a little bit, could resemble something like ML or F#
Jamal Burgess
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This gave me a really good foundation for thinking functionally. Definitely recommend though it started off a bit slow.
Rick Muële
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read, no matter how much experience you have.
Егор Лебедев
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Pretty good and easy introduction to lambda calculus.
Abhijit Gupta
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Awesome! Some books don’t require a detailed review. This one happens to be one of them.
Juarez Aires
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After 6 years on a computer related major and 2 years of professional experience in programming, I didn't think I'd find so many new concepts on a programming book. I couldn't be more wrong.

This book provided me a good introduction to the world of functional programming. It has changed the way that I code (even in imperative languages) just by reading it.
...more
Ivan Andrus
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Ivan by: Michael Bailey
I had never studied the lambda calculus, but I knew enough lisp to be bored after the first two chapter or so. I did learn some stuff though, and I'm glad I read it because now I know enough to talk intelligently. I found it to be pretty easy reading, though the typography was poor and there were several typos. ...more
Nicola
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Starting from \ calculus author bring you to practical functional languages step by step
Narciso
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computer-science
Best introduction to lambda calculus and functional programming
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Section 2.9.3 - make_pair (kindle location 896) 4 5 Mar 31, 2014 02:17AM  

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