Tue 20 Oct 2020

Fun with Lambda Calculus

In 1935, a gentleman called Alonzo Church came up with a simple scheme that could compute…just about anything. His scheme was called Lambda Calculus. It was a phenomenal innovation, given that there weren’t even computers for him to test out his ideas. Even cooler is that those very ideas affect us today: anytime you use a function, you owe a hat tip to Mr. Church.

Lambda Calculus is so cool that many hackers use it as their secret handshake — a “discreet signal” if you will. The most famous, of course, is PG’s Y Combinator. In this essay, we’ll find out what it’s all about, and do things with functions that we’d never have imagined. In the end you’ll have built just about every programming concept: numbers, booleans, you name it…just with functions.

Source: Fun with Lambda Calculus, an article by Stepan Parunashvili.

Python needs to change

Open-source programming language Python has become one of the few languages that won't disappear anytime soon. It's the top or one of the top two languages in most notable language popularity indexes, and even looks set to beat Java these days.

But 35-year-old Python does have its weaknesses. Not necessarily for the data-science and machine-learning communities built around Python extensions like NumPy and skippy, but as a general programming language.

Source: Programming language Python is a big hit for machine learning. But now it needs to change, an article by Liam Tung.


The lines. No ship can traverse the void without them. Only linesmen can work with them. But only Ean Lambert hears their song. And everyone thinks he’s crazy…

Most slum kids never go far, certainly not becoming a level-ten linesman like Ean. Even if he’s part of a small, and unethical, cartel, and the other linesmen disdain his self-taught methods, he’s certified and working.

Then a mysterious alien ship is discovered at the edges of the galaxy. Each of the major galactic powers is desperate to be the first to uncover the ship’s secrets, but all they’ve learned is that it has the familiar lines of energy—and a defense system that, once triggered, annihilates everything in a 200 kilometer radius.

The vessel threatens any linesman who dares to approach it, except Ean. His unique talents may be the key to understanding this alarming new force—and reconfiguring the relationship between humans and the ships that serve them, forever.

In the evening I started in Linesman by S. K. Dunstall, which is the pen name used by Australian sisters Sherylyn and Karen Dunstall.