- To Dissect a Mockingbird:A Graphical Notation for the Lambda Calculus with Animated Reduction David C Keenan, 27-Aug-1996 last updated 10-May-200 The lambda calculus, and the closely related theory of combinators, are important in the foundations of mathematics, logic and computer science. This paper provides an informal and entertaining introduction by means of an animated graphical notation. Introduction In the 1930s and 40s, around the birth of the "automatic computer", mathematicians wanted to formalise what we mean when we say some result or some function is "effectively computable", whether by machine or human. A "computer", originally, was a person who performed arithmetic calculations. The "effectively" part is included to indicate that we are not concerned with the time any particular computer might take to produce the result, so long as it would get there eventually. They wanted to find the simplest possible system that could be said to compute.
- Notes on the Combinator Birds: 1. The combinatory birds were borrowed from To Mock A MockingBird, by Raymond Smullyan. 2. Some additional information about combinator birds can be found in To Dissect a Mockingbird by David C Keenan. 3. Some of the SK Combinatory terms were first reduced using the Combinatory Logic Tutorial by Chris Barker.
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