# Talk:Combinatory logic

## Contents

## Simple Bases for Combinatory Logic

It might be worth mentioning that CL (combinatory logic) can be defined in the KS-basis as follows ...

Syntax ------ <combinator> ::= K | S | ( <combinator> <combinator> ) Semantics --------- ((K x) y) --> x (((S x) y) z) --> ((x z)(y z))

That's all! And even the right-parenthesis is not needed for disambiguation -- e.g. leave it out altogether, and replace '(' with '*':

Syntax ------ <combinator> ::= K | S | * <combinator> <combinator> Semantics --------- * * K x y --> x * * * S x y z --> ** x z * y z

One further step, replacing the KS-basis with any single-combinator basis (call it B -- there are many single-combinator bases), brings us to an even more minimalistic language (we get the language Iota by taking B = i = \x.xSK):

Syntax ------ <combinator> ::= B | * <combinator> <combinator> Semantics --------- * B x -->> <def'n of the basis combinator B> (e.g. * i x -->> * * x S K)

It can't get much simpler!

- Added note:

- It's a theorem in CL that every single-combinator basis is
*improper*; that is, a single combinator cannot properly serve as a basis, because it is itself necessarily defined in terms of two or more*other*combinators. E.g., the i in Iota is defined in terms of K and S (which are*proper*combinators -- contrast \x.xSK with \xy.x etc.). So although programs in the resulting language are binary strings on the alphabet {*,B}, they actually amount to encodings of trinary strings on the alphabet {*,K,S}.

--r.e.s.

## Role of free and bound variables

In the content page on Combinatory Logic, of course you mean to say

"Each combinator is like a function or lambda abstraction, but without any FREE variables."

--r.e.s.

- Yes, thank you. --Chris Pressey 00:39, 2 Jul 2005 (GMT)

## Don't understand something

I don't understand something about this article. For example "S K K x". I have understood that "x" also is a combinator, so it's also a series of S and K symbols. Say x is a K. Then what is the meaning of this last K? There's nothing behind it anymore, so it isn't applied to anything. There's no possible thing that x can be that doesn't require another combinator behind it. But there has to be a last combinator somewhere! --Aardwolf 02:21, 27 Oct 2005 (GMT)

- You don't need to supply combinators with 'arguments' - when no more reductions are possible, they remaining combinators just sit there. So KKS reduces to K, and that's it. --Safalra 10:29, 27 Oct 2005 (GMT)

## Keywords

The keyword pointfree programming (or point-free) should probably appear somewhere on the wiki, because they apply to these combinatory logic systems like the ones on this page and Unlambda, and also for some stack-based languages with no variable bindings such as Underload. I don't know where to mention this, perhaps there should be a separate article for the pointfree programming concept. --(this comment by B jonas at 08:03, 13 September 2018 UTC; please sign your comments with ~~~~)