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Playing with Problems and the Y Combinator

Posted on 2009-02-03 by Curt Sampson :: comments enabled

The January 29th meeting was more successful and fun than I’d thought it might be. We had a good turnout (about a dozen), and though there was no official presentation, we spent quite a lot of time with ghci up on the big screen, playing about.

I thought I’d haul out the Haskell programming problem we ask employment candidates to submit when they send in a resume. I’d talked about it earlier, and John had sent me a few different versions already, since I’d offered him some beer in exchange. As it turned out, his friend Adrien had also sent some samples in, but to Bryan’s address instead of mine, so I didn’t see them. The various styles of solving the problem turned out to be rather interesting, from some clever and terse list processing to using a StateT monad transformer on the IO monad. (I still have mixed opinions about that one.)

But best of all was, at the end, an impromptu presentation from Adrien on the Y-combinator, and watching it make John’s head explode. (You’d think a Lisp guy would have worked though The Little Lisper at some point in his career, but I guess not.)

(Later Edward did come up with an example of it doing something useful, in Ruby no less.)

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