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Scheme

👶  Children (ELI5)

🌈 A Whirlwind Adventure into the Wonderful World of Scheme ğŸŽ‰

Hey there, brave explorer! Today, we're going on a thrilling journey through the captivating universe of Scheme - a delightful, magical programming language filled with surprises, challenges, and fun! So grab your adventure hat, buckle up, and let's dive right into the fantastical world of Scheme!

🌳 A Little Bit of History 📜

Scheme was created in 1975 by two brilliant computer scientists, Guy L. Steele Jr. and Gerald Jay Sussman, as part of their research on artificial intelligence at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). They wanted to build a simple, clean, and efficient language that would let them experiment with new ideas easily. And voila! Scheme was born!

Scheme is based on another magical language called Lisp. Lisp is famous for being one of the oldest programming languages still used today. It was invented by a true wizard named John McCarthy back in 1958!

🧙‍♂️ The Basics: Expressions, Variables, and Functions ✨

Before we embark on our adventure through Scheme, let's take a peek at some fundamental concepts that'll help us along the way.

🖼️ Expressions ğŸŽ¨

At the heart of Scheme are expressions - pieces of code that do something magical. When the computer sees an expression, it evaluates it to produce a result. Here's an example:

(+ 3 4)

This expression adds the numbers 3 and 4 together. The computer evaluates it and gives us the result - 7! It's like casting a spell to calculate numbers!

🔐 Variables 🗝️

Variables are like treasure chests that hold precious values. In Scheme, we can create a variable to store a value and retrieve it later using the define keyword. Here's an example:

(define lucky-number 7)

Now, our lucky-number treasure chest holds the magical number 7! If we want to use it later, we just write its name:

(+ lucky-number 3)

This expression adds our lucky-number (7) to 3, resulting in 10!

📦 Functions 🚀

Functions are our secret weapons in Scheme. They're like mystical boxes that take some inputs, work their magic, and produce an output! We can create our own functions using the define keyword followed by lambda. Here's an example:

(define add-two-numbers (lambda (a b) (+ a b)))

Now, we've created a magical function named add-two-numbers that takes two inputs (a and b) and adds them together! To use our marvelous function, we write its name followed by the input values:

(add-two-numbers 3 4)

This will evaluate to 7 just like our previous addition example!

ğŸŽ­ Scheme's Unique Features: Recursion and Lists 🌌

Scheme has some unique and powerful features that make it stand out from other programming languages. Let's explore two of them - recursion and lists!

🔁 Recursion 🌀

In Scheme, functions can call themselves to solve problems! This magical process is called recursion. Let's see an example using a famous problem - calculating the factorial of a number (n!). The factorial of a number n is the product of all positive integers less than or equal to n.

Here's a recursive function to calculate the factorial of a number:

(define factorial (lambda (n)
                    (if (= n 0)
                        1
                        (* n (factorial (- n 1))))))

This function uses the if keyword to check if the number is 0. If it is, the function returns 1. Otherwise, it multiplies the number by the factorial of the number minus 1. Let's use our function to calculate the factorial of 5:

(factorial 5)

This will evaluate to 120 (5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1), which is the factorial of 5!

🗂️ Lists 📋

Lists are a fundamental data structure in Scheme. They're like magical chains of treasure chests, each holding its own value. We can create lists using the list keyword:

(list 1 2 3 4 5)

This creates a list containing the numbers from 1 to 5! We can also manipulate lists using a variety of powerful functions. For example, we can use car to get the first element of a list and cdr to get the rest of the list:

(define numbers (list 1 2 3 4 5))

(car numbers) ; This evaluates to 1, the first element of the list!
(cdr numbers) ; This evaluates to (2 3 4 5), the rest of the list!

🏰 In Conclusion: The Power and Beauty of Scheme 🌟

And with that, our whirlwind adventure through the enchanting world of Scheme comes to an end. Along the way, we've explored its fascinating history, dabbled with its basic building blocks like expressions, variables, and functions, and unveiled its unique and powerful features with recursion and lists!

By now, you should have a taste of the magic that Scheme brings to the world of programming. With its elegant simplicity, expressive power, and mystifying charm, it's no wonder that Scheme has captured the hearts and minds of many programmers for decades.

So go forth, young explorer, and let the knowledge you've gained in our journey guide you through your very own adventures in Scheme! And who knows? Perhaps one day, you'll create a spellbinding masterpiece that astonishes the world!

Grok.foo is a collection of articles on a variety of technology and programming articles assembled by James Padolsey. Enjoy! And please share! And if you feel like you can donate here so I can create more free content for you.