Linked by Alexandru Lazar on Mon 5th Jan 2009 19:13 UTC
General Development In the age of dynamic languages and closures, most of you have probably heard of a mighty dragon called Lisp (which stands for LISt Processing), whose fans look almost with despise at other languages rediscovering it. Invented half a century ago, Lisp went on to become a de facto standard in the world of AI research, and has stood behind a handful of very neat inventions in the 1980s. Nevertheless, the long AI winter and the drift of technology towards other paradigms have almost lead to forgetting Lisp alltogether; IT has only recently started to rediscover parts of what made Lisp so cool back then.
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Another dialect
by BlueofRainbow on Tue 6th Jan 2009 05:40 UTC
BlueofRainbow
Member since:
2009-01-06

I'm glad to see a renewed interest in LISP. I have always enjoyed the language and what can be done with it. The article and the comments have prompted me to finally register to OSNews after years of being just an anonymous guest.

Yes, all the parentheses are tricky to keep track of and pair properly so that the Read-Eval-Print Loop can handle the programmers' thoughts as intended. However, this is not a major handicap once one has reached some fluency in the language.

One strength of the language is that Code and Data have the same fundamental structure. This has been used extensively in AI Research, including studies on AI programming languages and the creation of purposely defined LISP dialects.

I've done my LISP programming using muLISP on a PC (8088 @ 5 MHz, 512 kb memory, two floppies, no hard drive) years ago. One weakness I encountered back then for the specific case I was programming was the difficulty to handle time-stamped data. The data structures I came up with were likely not the best but I managed. I wonder if the younger dialects have pre-defined functions for this.

Although all data processing problems can be handled by any computing language, there are some pairings which are easier to mentally work with than others.

By the way, MDL (a.k.a. Muddle) from which current LISP draws some of its constructs was used for the original mainframe iteractive fiction game Zork. The coders went on to form Infocom and ported Zork to the early microcomputers via a virtual machine (Z-Machine)and a stripped-down dialect of MDL called ZIL(Zork Implementation Language).

Clojure which has been mentioned here as being much more interesting than newLISP is also a LISP dialect implemented in the Java Virtual Machine.....Many fundamental similarities between the old and the new although names, purposes, and underlying data processing power are vastly different.

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