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Programming Glossary

email Scott Turner

Home School Supermath
October 26, 2000

termdefinitionvarietiesScheme examples
action a type of instruction within a program. When an action is run, the the program interacts for a specific period of time with the computer and its environment. When complete, an action supplies a result value (though it is common for the result to be trivial).
  • Print something, returning a trivial value.
  • Do nothing but return.
  • Wait for user.
argument an expression which is combined with a function expression to indicate a call to the function. When the function is called, the argument is evaluated to provide a value.(cons a (quote ())) has 2 arguments.
the value, or one of the values supplied to a function at the time it is called The function (lambda (x) (cons x '())) could be called with its argument being the atom philip, in which case the function would return the list (philip).
  • in Lisp or Scheme, a basic value that is either null, or is not a list
  • in The Little Schemer, a basic value that is not a list
numberthe number 4 which is written 4
booleanthe false boolean value which is written #f
namethe name fuzz. In a an expression, a name must be quoted, as 'fuzz or (quote fuzz), which both evaluate to the same atom.
function(lambda (x) (cons x '())) evaluates to a function value, which is displayed as #procedure.
booleanrelating to the two-valued system of true/false, studied by Boole, a 19th century mathematician written #t and #f
evaluate to find the value of an expression by performing the operations (i.e. function calls) indicated. In Lisp and Scheme, a quote operation yields the quoted value unchanged.
  • (cons 'a '(b c)) evaluates to (a b c).
  • '(a b c) evaluates to (a b c).
expression a part of a program, which tells what value to compute, and whose value may depend on the names to which it refers. literal data(quote hello)
literal function(lambda (x) (- 1 x))
function call(cons atm '())
parameter referencelat
function a value which can be called with one or more arguments, transforming them to produce a result value. A function doesn't do anything else. The Gambit Scheme interpreter uses the term procedure to indicate a function.
lista value consisting of 0 or more elements in a particular order. The fundamental operations on a list tell whether the list is null, and break it up to provide the first element and a list of the remaining elements. The following expressions evaluate to lists:
  • '() or (quote ()) (the null list)
  • (cons x lat)
  • (cdr lat)
The following are examples of how lists appear when displayed:
  • ()
  • (a b c)
  • (a 3 #t (sub))
nullhaving no elements (describing a list)
parameter a name in a lambda expression (i.e. a function definition) which takes on the value of a corresponding argument, when that function is called. The parameter name is introduced at the beginning of the lambda, and can be used anywhere in the body of the lambda to represent the value of the corresponding argument. (lambda (x) (- 1 x))
type a category of values with common behavior or purpose lists, numbers, lists of atoms, and booleans
value a result of evaluation. When a name (e.g. a parameter or defined name) is bound, it is bound to a value. number3
functionlambda (x) (- 1 x)
structurethe list (a 3 #t)

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