Let's Talk Lisp

Let's Talk Lisp

Let's Talk Lisp

Let's Talk Lisp

Excerpt

Lisp is a LIST Processing programming language based on John McCarthy's work on nonnumeric computation published in 1960. The first LISP system was implemented at M.I.T. and was described in the LISP 1.5 Programmer's Manual. Since then, LISP has been implemented on a variety of computers. It is the language of choice for research requiring nonnumeric computation. To a large extent, it remains unique among programming languages, possessing a flavor and "feel" all of its own. In 1973, in an invited talk at the University of Texas at Austin, Jean Sammettsaid, "Programming languages can be divided into two categories. In one category, there is LISP; in the second category, all the other programming languages!" The pedagogic value of LISP has indeed been recognized in computer science curricula.

This text gives a reasonably complete exposition of LISP, but avoids the details of the implementations of the language. The first seven chapters give a slow-paced introduction to the more elementary features of the language: elementary functions, recursive functions, the PROG feature, MAP functions, and generators. The experienced programmer will find a condensation of these seven chapters in Appendix B.

Chapters 8 to 11 encourage the use of property lists, explain a particular interpreter for EVAL, describe the storage structures in LISP and their manipulations, and finally pull together various features that had not found a niche in the previous chapters. The notion of cell-value, i.e. the . . .

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