While your initial exercises in Scheme have been numeric, Scheme is not limited to numerical computation, but can also operate on pure symbols.
Scheme's ancestor, Lisp, was originally developed to aid in experiments in artificial intelligence. At the time, a leading theory suggested that intelligence emphasizes symbolic manipulation. Hence, it is sensible that Lisp and Scheme include symbols as a basic type. Evidence also shows that many programs most appropriately work on abstract symbolic value.
When we want to refer to something as a value involved in a computation,
rather than as the name of some other value, we put an apostrophe
quote) in front of it. In effect, by quoting
the symbol, we're telling Scheme to take it literally and without further
interpretation or evaluation:
> 'sample sample
Note that you can quote many different things. You can even quote Scheme expressions.
> '(+ 2 3) (+ 2 3)
Although you can use quote in a variety of ways, I prefer that you limit your use to quoting symbolic values, at least for the first few weeks of class. My experience shows that those who quote lists early in the course careers end up with confusing results later in the course.
Wednesday, 4 September 2002 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]
Tuesday, 21 January 2003 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]
I usually create these pages
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