A crash-course on lambda calculus

What do you think of when you hear “Y Combinator”? If you’re like most of us, you’d probably think of the venture capital company based in Mountain View, California.

Well, here is the original Y combinator:

λf. (λx. f (x x))(λx. f (x x))

Please, please don’t run away. There’s a reason why Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator is named after this. It’s actually kind of awesome. (Kudos to them for picking a cool name.)

To understand what λf. (λx. f(x x))(λx. f(x x)) means and what it can do, we’ll first need to learn the basics of lambda calculus.

If you’re interested in functional programming or are curious about it, I think you might enjoy it. Don’t worry if you don’t fully understand it after your first read-through; the article won’t disappear! …

and how to get started

I first heard about the idea of “open-source” around four years ago during my second year of college. The thought of people of sharing code and working on projects together sounded really cool, but I didn’t fully understand the excitement around it. I had a GitHub account, but all the stuff on it was just coursework and hackathon projects that were unintentionally open-source because I didn’t really want to pay for private repos. (Yay, student life.) I didn’t think much else about it, and life went on.

Last Fall, I graduated from Penn and started working at Venmo’s San Francisco office as an iOS engineer. I started using GitHub every day for work. My team started using CocoaPods for managing third-party dependencies and trying out cool open-source projects. That’s when it first occurred to me that it might be fun to make something of my own. …

and the importance of “Hello world”

This past weekend, I attended HSHacks (High School Hackathon) as a rep for Venmo. I thought that I would swing by and maybe help a few kids with their iOS projects, because that’s what mentors do right? And yes, I did end up helping a few groups with iOS and Objective-C, but what I didn’t expect was how much I would learn from them. Here are some takeaways.

It’s not about taking the easiest path to win.

The team that built Paychecks, having gone through the MakeGamesWithUs summer academy, was already comfortable with Objective-C. …


Ayaka Nonaka

iOS Engineer @ Workflow

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store