# Lambda Calculus

Lambda calculus is a simple and powerful notation for defining functions. Among its uses are

• foundation of programming languages, especially functional languages such as Ocaml, Haskell, and Scala
• basis of higher order logic

In lambda calculus, functions have no side effects

• they are mathematical functions from arguments to results
• lambda calculus also supports higher-order functions
• this model is appropriate for studying type checking
• directly applicable to purely functional languages (like Haskell)
• applies to other languages if we ensure that assignments do not change types

## Anonymous Functions in Lambda Calculus

A function which takes its argument and increments it by 2 is given by lambda expression . The operator is a binder used to indicate that a variable is to be treated as an argument of a function. We indicate function application by juxtaposition, writing instead of . Here are some example expressions and their values: Concrete syntax for :

• Isabelle theorem prover: '(% x.x+2)5' or '(\<lambda> x.x+2)5'
• ocaml: '(function x → x+2)5'
• Haskell: '(\ x → x+2)5'
• Scala ((x:int) => x+2)(5)

## Lambda Expressions

Abstract syntax of untyped lambda expressions: That is, an expression is 1) a variable, 2) a lambda expression defining a function, or 3) an application of one expression to another.

Certain predefined variables are called constants (e.g. 7, 42, 13, but also operations +, *).

Types are given by the following grammar: There can be additional primitive types .

## Currying we have Therefore is a function that increments its argument by • expression is just a shorthand for This is called currying in the honor of Haskell Curry we can use function ## Beta Reduction

The main rule of lambda calculus is beta reduction, which formalizes function application: Here we assume capture-avoiding substitution

• we do renaming to avoid name clashes

Example: ## Rules for Constants

For each constant we have appropriate rule, for example we have and so on, for each pair of integer constants. Similarly, we can introduce conditional constant , writing , with rules and so on.

If we get something like this is a run-time type error

• program would crash at run-time or produce bad result
• we introduce a type system to avoid this