lambda calculus

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Coined by Alonzo Church after the use of the Greek letter lambda (λ) as the basic abstraction operator in the calculus.


lambda calculus ‎(plural lambda calculi)

  1. (computing theory) Any of a family of functionally complete algebraic systems in which lambda expressions are evaluated according to a fixed set of rules to produce values, which may themselves be lambda expressions.
    • 2009 March 2, John C. Baez; Mike Stay, “Physics, Topology, Logic and Computation: A Rosetta Stone”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[1], page 50:
      In the 1930s, while Turing was developing what are now called ‘Turing machines’ as a model for computation, Church and his student Kleene were developing a different model, called the ‘lambda calculus’ [29, 63]. While a Turing machine can be seen as an idealized, simplified model of computer hardware, the lambda calculus is more like a simple model of software.


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