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Lisp programming

Lisp is a functional programming language family with a long history. Originally developed as a practical computation model (in comparison to Alan Turing's), it later became the favored artificial intelligence research language during the field's heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, Lisp languages are used in many fields, from web development to finance [1] (http://alu.cliki.net/Industry%20Application), and are also common in computer science education.

The name Lisp derives from "List Processing". Linked lists are one of Lisp languages' major data structures, and identical basic list operations work in all Lisp dialects. Other common features in Lisp dialects include dynamic typing, functional programming support, and the ability to manipulate source code as data.

Lisp languages also have an instantly-recognizable appearance. Program code is written using the same syntax as lists – the parenthesized S-expression syntax. Every sub-expression in a program (or data structure) is set off with parentheses. This makes Lisp languages easy to parse, and also makes it simple to do metaprogramming – creating programs which write other programs. This is a major reason for its great popularity in the 70s and 80s, because artificial intelligence programmers believed that Lisp would lend itself naturally to self-propagating programs.

Originally specified in 1958, Lisp is the second-oldest high-level programming language in widespread use today; only Fortran is older. Like Fortran, Lisp has changed a great deal since its early days, and a number of dialects have existed over its history. Today, the most widely-known general-purpose Lisp dialects for programming are Common Lisp and Scheme.


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lisp programming language".