1. How would you define an operation to reverse a list? (Don't peek at the [[lambda_library]]! Try to figure it out on your own.) Choose whichever implementation of list you like. Even then, there are various strategies you can use. 2. An advantage of the v3 lists and v3 (aka "Church") numerals is that they have a recursive capacity built into their skeleton. So for many natural operations on them, you won't need to use a fixed point combinator. Why is that an advantage? Well, if you use a fixed point combinator, then the terms you get won't be strongly normalizing: whether their reduction stops at a normal form will depend on what evaluation order you use. Our online [[lambda evaluator]] uses normal-order reduction, so it finds a normal form if there's one to be had. But if you want to build lambda terms in, say, Scheme, and you wanted to roll your own recursion as we've been doing, rather than relying on Scheme's native `let rec` or `define`, then you can't use the fixed-point combinators `Y` or `Θ`. Expressions using them will have non-terminating reductions, with Scheme's eager/call-by-value strategy. There are other fixed-point combinators you can use with Scheme (in the [week 3 notes](/week3/#index7h2) they were `Y′` and `Θ′`. But even with them, evaluation order still matters: for some (admittedly unusual) evaluation strategies, expressions using them will also be non-terminating. The fixed-point combinators may be the conceptual stars. They are cool and mathematically elegant. But for efficiency and implementation elegance, it's best to know how to do as much as you can without them. (Also, that knowledge could carry over to settings where the fixed point combinators are in principle unavailable.) This is why the v3 lists and numbers are so lovely. However, one disadvantage to them is that it's relatively inefficient to extract a list's tail, or get a number's predecessor. To get the tail of the list `[a;b;c;d;e]`, one will basically be performing some operation that builds up the tail afresh: at different stages, one will have built up `[e]`, then `[d;e]`, then `[c;d;e]`, and finally `[b;c;d;e]`. With short lists, this is no problem, but with longer lists it takes longer and longer. And it may waste more of your computer's memory than you'd like. Similarly for obtaining a number's predecessor. The v1 lists and numbers on the other hand, had the tail and the predecessor right there as an element, easy for the taking. The problem was just that the v1 lists and numbers didn't have recursive capacity built into them, in the way the v3 implementations do. A clever approach would marry these two strategies. Version 3 makes the list `[a;b;c;d;e]` look like this: \f z. f a (f b (f c (f d (f e z)))) or in other words: \f z. f a Instead we could make it look like this: \f z. f a That is, now `f` is a function expecting *three* arguments: the head of the current list, the tail of the current list, and the result of continuing to fold `f` over the tail, with a given base value `z`. Call this a **version 4** list. The empty list can be the same as in v3:
``empty ≡ \f z. z``
The list constructor would be:
``make_list ≡ \h t. \f z. f h t (t f z)``
``extract_fst ≡ \pair. pair (\x y. x)``