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Combinators: A Centennial View

by   Stephen Wolfram, et al.

We give a modern computational introduction to the S,K combinators invented by Moses Schönfinkel in 1920, and present a variety of new results and ideas about combinators. We explore the spectrum of behavior obtained with small combinator expressions, showing a variety of approaches to analysis and visualization. We discuss the implications of evaluation strategies, and of multiway systems representing all possible strategies. We show how causal graphs introduced in recent models of fundamental physics can be applied to combinators, as well as describing how combinators introduce a new form of treelike separation. We give a variety of new results on minimal combinator expressions, as well as showing how empirical computation theory and computational complexity theory can be done with combinators. We also suggest that when viewed in terms of ongoing computation, the S combinator alone may be capable of universal computation.


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