[Pl-seminar] Wadler's Blog: Oh no! Alligators!

Mitchell Wand wand at ccs.neu.edu
Tue May 8 10:09:02 EDT 2007

The Alligator game is great fun!  And Bret Victor sounds like a cool guy.


Oh no! Alligators! <http://worrydream.com/AlligatorEggs> One of my great
joys on visiting Berkeley was to meet Bret Victor, of Magic
Ink<http://worrydream.com/MagicInk/>fame. I mentioned to him that I
had been working with a student on a visual
lambda calculus, in part because I wanted a way to explain lambda calculus
to my eight-year old daughter and son. He responded with a
game<http://worrydream.com/AlligatorEggs>involving alligators and
their eggs, such a clever morphing of lambda
calculus that it wasn't until I reached the end that I realized exactly what
was going on.

So far, I've had a chance to show it to my daughter, who managed to
successfully solve the problem at the end. She guessed a definition of
'not', and then applied 'not' to 'true' and checked that the result is
'false'. But she was most interested in drawing pictures of alligators! I
expect it would be more fun to use if there was software that implemented
the game.

Bret also pointed to David Keenan's graphical lambda
based on Raymond Smullyan's "To Mock a Mockingbird".
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