Lambda Calculus

While we both enjoy our Summer breaks in our hometown, my good friend Bruno Abrahão, who is now a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University, asked me if he could, as a preparation for an upcoming exam, teach me a lesson on Advanced Programming Languages. I eagerly accepted, not only for the opportunity of spending time with him, but also for the enjoyment of learning something new.

My last proper lesson on P.L. was on my undergrads, probably more than ten years ago. Certainly, it was nothing like the one he taught me: his course covered extremely abstract topics, mostly concerning deep formal issues, like how the semantics of P.L. can be constructed. We have started with lambda calculus, and from that innocent foundation, erected a progressively complex conceptual lattice…

I don’t know if he had planned a self-contained lesson, but as it turned out, we just greedily browsed the syllabus, stopping at everything that looked noteworthy. He would ask me “let me know when you get tired” and I would answer “not yet, please, go on”. We visited a lot of material, throwing haphazardly away everything whose “interest / length of exposition” ratio seemed unpromising.

When we finally became aware of the time, four hours had passed, and we were so exhausted we could barely say our goodbyes in a proper manner.

But I am looking forward to do this again and pondering on how can I lure each one of my friends into teaching me a lesson. Maybe some Earl Gray and my famous banana cupcakes could do the trick…

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