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Abstract Fun-sense: a functional perspective on life

YOW! Lambda Jam 2021

Everything can be a function if you look at it the right way; we can characterise familiar concepts like sets, lists and even plain values as functions.

Thinking about such basic objects as functions can seem unnecessarily abstract, but it isn’t just an exercise in increasingly intimidating notation! It turns out to be an elegant perspective that allows us to glimpse a more powerful abstraction.

In this talk, we’ll see how playing with this notion leads to the Yoneda Lemma, a key result in category theory. We’ll build up some intuition and motivation for the Yoneda Lemma, and return to the notion of viewing objects as functions to appreciate some of its implications.

Dana Ma

Staff Software Engineer



Dana is currently a Staff Software Engineer at Zendesk in the Data Products team, where she works on harnessing the power of data to help Zendesk's customers help their customers help themselves. Prior to that, she worked in London building pipelines and wrangling data in the financial sector. As a functional programming enthusiast with a background in pure mathematics, she's enthusiastic about the potential of data to help people, but also harbours a solid appreciation for the beautifully esoteric.