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Basic Category Theory for Computer Scientists (Foundations of Computing) [Paperback]

Benjamin C. Pierce
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

30 Sep 1991 Foundations of Computing
Category theory is a branch of pure mathematics that is becoming an increasingly important tool in theoretical computer science, especially in programming language semantics, domain theory, and concurrency, where it is already a standard language of discourse. Assuming a minimum of mathematical preparation, Basic Category Theory for Computer Scientists provides a straightforward presentation of the basic constructions and terminology of category theory, including limits, functors, natural transformations, adjoints, and cartesian closed categories. Four case studies illustrate applications of category theory to programming language design, semantics, and the solution of recursive domain equations. A brief literature survey offers suggestions for further study in more advanced texts. Benjamin C. Pierce received his doctoral degree from Carnegie Mellon University.Contents : Tutorial. Applications. Further Reading.

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Basic Category Theory for Computer Scientists (Foundations of Computing) + Category Theory (Oxford Logic Guides) + An Introduction to Category Theory
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Product details

  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press (30 Sep 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262660717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262660716
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 18 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 584,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Benjamin C. Pierce is Professor of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Abstract Abstraction 25 Feb 2014
By Albear
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a (retired) computer scientist is was a aware of Category Theory and once co-authored a paper (with an expert in the theory) that used the theory to explicate certain details for network database relationships. This then seemed the ideal book to get the understanding I had never really had. I was a bit disappointed in the helpfulness of the text in aiding understanding of the theory, the examples in the book, and in the theory itself. The last is my own problem - much useful mathematics has been developed using Category Theory. The other two are a bit more problematic, and I did find myself referring to on-line texts to get a handle on the concepts. A best it prompted me to look for more helpful texts.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Really expensive for a set of notes... 7 Dec 2005
By Foo Bar - Published on
Now that Barr and Wells have made Category Theory for Computing Science available for free, there's no reason to read anything else. CTCS is an *excellent* intro to category theory, written by actual category theorists.

For more applications to functional programming, try Lambert Meertens, Richard Bird, Oege de Moor, Marten Fokkinga, Jaap Van Oosten, and Roland Backhouse.

For a more mathematical approach, try Eugenia Cheng's excellent videos on YouTube. Or just read MacLane...
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too terse 28 Mar 2004
By A Customer - Published on
This is a very short book: 70 pages of text + a bibliography. The first 50 pages are about general category theory, and the last 20 pages are specifically for computer scientists. My interest is in general category theory, and I bought this because I have a BS in CS and thought I'd find plenty of familiar examples. Unfortunately this book doesn't have nearly enough examples. I found it easier to skim some undergrad abstract algebra books in the library (groups, rings, vector spaces) and then continuing with category theory intros written for math students.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Basic crib sheet for category theory 2 April 2006
By J. Elliott - Published on
Anyone coming to this book from Pierce's "Types and Programming Languages" will be disappointed. While his "Types ..." book is a model of clear exposition, this book reads like a set of notes jotted down on the back on an envelope. The extensive bibliographic sections are more than fifteen years out of date. Much of the material referenced is no longer in print, and recent developments are, of course, not mentioned. Those seeking a very gentle introduction to category theory would do better with the book by Lawvere and Schanuel, who cover more of category theory than Pierce. Mathematically mature computer science readers will find everything they need to know about the subject in Mac Lane's book.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and concise 12 Dec 2001
By Michael Rosenborg - Published on
This is an excellent introduction to category theory, not just for computer scientists, but for mathematicians as well. The author has a very clear writing style--it's evident that he writes to help people to understand the subject, and not to show off his knowledge. The examples illustrating various principles are easy to understand, especially the ones used to illustrate adjoints, arguably one of the more difficult concepts in category theory. This book also comes with a very valuable annotated bibliography, enabling one to intelligently choose from the many books and articles in this burgeoning field.
Read this book before you tackle Mac Lane.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice and slim (the text is only ~70 pages)! 3 Oct 2010
By King Yin Yan - Published on
I'm still a beginner at category theory, but I'd like to say this is a nice textbook. The examples are easy to follow (mainly basic set theory), for people with a com sci background.

A later section explains CCCs (Cartesian closed categories) and its isomorphism to typed lambda calculus. I don't fully grasp the details but this is a very important result in higher-order logic, particularly because the substitution mechanism of lambda calculus can be modeled by category theory.
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