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We had to cover monads eventually, and there are many great monad tutorials out there (see, for example, here: http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/Tutorials#Using_monads). In fact, there are web resources concerned solely with organizing the many monad tutorials available in the wild, and developing new monad tutorials seems to be a popular sport in the Haskell community.
Today, Ralf Lämmel's lecture goes back to the roots, essentially revisiting Wadler's "The essence of functional programming"—the 1992 paper that discovered monads and popularized their use in functional programming. Ralf Lämmel's lecture and accompanying code distribution show Wadler's seminal insight: those original scenarios and observations still make sense today. Indeed, Simon Marlow (a Haskell/GHC high priest @ MSR Cambridge) recently noted: "it's still the best monad tutorial" (see http://twitter.com/simonmar/status/21397398061).
Focusing on a few generically useful monads, Dr. Lämmel explains how the work within the interpretation domain. While the lecture also takes a look at the contemporary Haskell library for monads and monad transformers, there are obviously many monads and associated domains that cannot be covered this time. If you want to learn more about monads, then continue with state threads, IO, parsing, and concurrency (STM).
Slide #4 (easy), #6 (modest), #13 (modest), #40 (hard)
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