Powered by Lisp

… not the speech impediment…

All of my research is, and nearly always has been, powered by Lisp, the computer language system. All of the graphs you see displayed in this blog are produced using my own Lisp plotting package.

I have used many other systems in the past, starting with Forth – which wants to grow up to be Lisp. Forth was invented by Astronomers for use in controlling telescopes and acquiring data. That’s where my journey began.

Along the way there was RSI/IDL, Octave, NML (my own numerical modeling language patterned after OCaml),  MatLab, and Mathematica.

But after all these experiences I always found myself wanting more of what only Lisp can provide. It is perfect modeling clay and a mind-amplifier. It allows ad-hoc experimenting directly from the command line, just like Forth did. It is capable of mutating and transforming itself into an infinite variety of domain specific forms – a perfect shape shifter.

If I need to try out an idea, I just type it into the command line or a short text editing session, and voila! – with the power of my graphic visualization tools I get to see immediately whether to scrap the idea, or push onward with it.

I don’t have to fight the edit / compile / debug cycle of conventional programming languages. Lisp is a simple extension of my fingertips. Immediate, always stimulating, rarely painful for me.

I think lambda closures stimulate my endorphins.

  • DM

[I have been a loyal LispWorks customer since the early 1990’s. They have always been one of the best implementations out there, and well supported. I have also used just about every other version out there, and a ton of Scheme systems too. But LispWorks has earned my loyalty. ]

Author: dbmcclain

Astrophysicist, spook, musician, Lisp aficionado, deaf guy

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