## Introduction.

The lambda calculus is a formal mathematical system
devised by Alonzo Church to investigate
functions, function application and recursion.
It has influenced many programming languages but
none more so than the *functional programming languages*.
Lisp was the first of these although only the "pure" Lisp sublanguage
can be called a true functional language.
Haskell, Miranda and ML are more recent examples.
Lambda calculus also provides the meta-language for
formal definitions in
*denotational semantics*.
It has a good claim to be the prototype programming language.

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© L. Allison, Dept. of Computer Science, Monash University