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Scheme programming

Scheme is a functional programming language and a dialect of Lisp. It was developed by Guy L. Steele and Gerald Jay Sussman in the 1970s and introduced to the academic world via a series of papers now referred to as Sussman and Steele's Lambda Papers.

Scheme's philosophy is unashamedly minimalist. Its goal is not to pile feature upon feature, but to remove weaknesses and restrictions that make new features appear necessary. Therefore, Scheme provides as few primitive notions as possible, and lets everything else be implemented on top of them. For example, the main mechanism for governing control flow is tail recursion.

Scheme was the first variety of Lisp to use lexical variable scoping (aka static scoping, as opposed to dynamic variable scoping) exclusively. It was also one of the first programming languages to support explicit continuations. Scheme also supports garbage collection of unreferenced data.

Scheme uses lists as the primary data structure, but also has good support for arrays. Owing to the minimalist specification, there is no standard syntax for creating structures with named fields, or for doing object oriented programming, but many individual implementations have such features.

Scheme was originally called "Schemer", in the tradition of the languages Planner and Conniver. The current name resulted from the authors' use of the ITS operating system, which limited filenames to two components of at most six characters each. Currently, "Schemer" is commonly used to refer to a Scheme programmer.


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