Software! Math! Data! The blog of R. Sean Bowman
The blog of R. Sean Bowman

Posts with tag “monads”

January 04 2016

We previously looked at a generalization of the familiar algebraic concept of a monoid to a category. We’re now in a position to give the “mathematician’s definition” of a monad. People seem to have different opinions of this definition. I personally think that it’s simple, elegant, and captures the spirit of generality of category theory. I have heard that some people use this definition to belittle or confuse people. Perhaps it’s just that people feel belittled or confused by it. In any case, describing a monad isn’t easy, and we shouldn’t feel bad if we don’t understand it very well at first.


December 01 2015

I want to talk about monads. These are fairly obscure mathematical objects that have received quite a bit of attention in the programming community lately. This, I think, is mostly because of their use in Haskell to handle "side effects" and other notions of computation inside the type system. It’s grown from there, however, and now you can find monad tutorials and code using monads in languages from Javascript to C++. Today, I want to talk a little about category theory, the history of monads, and the context in which mathematicians and theoretical computer scientists see them.