Fields in Physics are like Curried Functions or Physics for Functional Programmers

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1994-05-01
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Leavens, Gary
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Computer Science

Computer Science—the theory, representation, processing, communication and use of information—is fundamentally transforming every aspect of human endeavor. The Department of Computer Science at Iowa State University advances computational and information sciences through; 1. educational and research programs within and beyond the university; 2. active engagement to help define national and international research, and 3. educational agendas, and sustained commitment to graduating leaders for academia, industry and government.

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The Computer Science Department was officially established in 1969, with Robert Stewart serving as the founding Department Chair. Faculty were composed of joint appointments with Mathematics, Statistics, and Electrical Engineering. In 1969, the building which now houses the Computer Science department, then simply called the Computer Science building, was completed. Later it was named Atanasoff Hall. Throughout the 1980s to present, the department expanded and developed its teaching and research agendas to cover many areas of computing.

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1969-present

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Good motivating examples for teaching the utility of curried functions can be taken from Physics. The curried function perspective can also be used to help functional programmers understand fields in Physics. The correspondence between the curried function view of vector fields and the usual view taken in Physics is also explained.

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