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Arriving at Abstraction: A Guided Tour of Haskell - Remote Inspire Lecture with George Ordish (OR 2010-2017)

George Ordish (OR 2010- 2017) is a MEng Computing Student at Imperial College London. We were fortunate to have him present a Functional Programming Lecture on Wednesday.

George has an in-depth appreciation of the Haskell scene and provided us with a clear, detailed step by step introduction to Haskell programming. He set about building up an understanding of how to define data types and functions, he then moved on to the intricacies and complexities, proving us with a more simplistic approach we could use.

In Functional programming, we use functions where usually you might use other data types. George took the time to break down the key functions that AQA are expecting students to know in the second year of the A-Level Computer Science course.

Functional programming is about using functions which have one input and one output, rather than other programming paradigms that can pass multiple parameters and provide multiple points of access. We were guided through the construction of lists, folds; maps and had explanations of partial functions, polymorphism and the practical use of pattern matching, where George was quite clear that “Pattern matching is so cool”!

He built on the first hour of his detail practical demonstration to extend his marathon talk to answer keen students’ questions and extend his previously clear demonstrations of defining functions with recursion to ensure passwords are secure with more practical demonstrations and discussion.

George ended with a thunk, which for those of you that like being lazy is a value which during program run-time does not get evaluated unless it has to!

Daniel C (12SP) commented:

“I think the talk was well presented. It gave a pretty good overview of how Haskell works and why it is good as a functional programming language. George Ordish showed the elegance of functional programming and gave a very enjoyable talk all round.”

Daniel H (12PS) also said:

“I thought it was an interesting look into many novel concepts, such as 'lazy' evaluation of lists, which I had not before come across. The talk itself was also well streamlined - in that functions created earlier were used to illustrate later concepts.”

Mr AM Robson (Headmaster) said:

“During his time at Reading School, George was an exemplary student who participated in several co-curricular activities like MiG25 and House Music. I am glad that he has chosen to keep in touch with the school and share the skills he has developed at University with our Year 12 Computer Science students. It is such an invaluable benefit to them.”

A special thank you to Mr S Ling-Winston (Head of Computer Science) for arranging this lecture and to the Society Office for coordinating all online inspire lectures.

If you would like to share your professional expertise, academic specialism or research background with our students through a short talk, master class, tutorial or inspire lecture, please complete the form here: Remote Inspire Lectures.

If you have any further queries please contact Piatrice or Jas at

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