LGA-15: Symbolic Computation

  1. Read this blog post on symbolic computation. Note that the blog post is using a language from which Racket took inspiration: Common Lisp. The structures presented should look familiar, although many will not work in Racket. As you read along, try and think of the equivalent Racket structures.


    Some of the exercises would require you to have a Common Lisp environment setup. Obviously, I don’t expect you to have this. You may feel free to skip these.

  2. The blog post above features evaluating Lisp using symbolic computation. We can use the same technique for other things too. Suppose we had a Racket function for symbolic integration. You could imagine it acting like this:

    > (integrate '(* 2 x) 'x)
    '(expt x 2)
    > (integrate '(/ 1 x) 'x)
    '(log x 2)

    Think about another usage for symbolic computation. What would be some samples of the inputs and outputs?

  3. What features of Racket would you find most useful for symbolic computation? Hint: How about pattern matching? (Think of how you would use it)!

  4. Be prepared to discuss with your learning group.