Post by Barb Knox Post by Pascal J. Bourguignon
Yes. John McCarthy didn't understand lambda calculus at the time. He
just used the lambda notation for his functions
Yeah right. McCarthy had a PhD in mathematics and specialised in
mathematical logic; of course he knew lambda calculus. Or do you
believe his use of "lambda" was just a coincidence?
Naturally McCarthy got the lambda notation from lambda
calculus. McCarthy was not a mathematical logician by any stretch of the
imagination -- his research was mainly in computer science, artificial
intelligence in particular, and his PhD dissertation was on a problem in
partial differantial equations -- and had this to say about the state of
his understanding of the lambda calculus at the time:
To use functions as arguments, one needs a notation for functions,
and it seemed natural to use the lambda-notation of Church (1941). I
didn't understand the rest of the book, so I wasn't tempted to
implement his more general mechanism for defining functions.
This excerpt is from McCarthy's /History of Lisp/, available on-line at:
Post by Barb Knox
Are you a moron? Is that why you have such a self-aggrandising nickname?
You think "Pascal J. Bourguignon" a "self-aggrandising nickname"?
Aatu Koskensilta (***@uta.fi)
"Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen"
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus