Why aren't we all speaking LISP now?

Anton Vredegoor a.vredegoor at hccnet.nl
Wed May 9 19:36:58 CEST 2001


On Wed, 9 May 2001 13:53:11 +0200 (MET DST), Laura Creighton
<lac at cd.chalmers.se> wrote:

>If this experience is in any way typical of computer science teaching,
>no wonder we aren't all using LISP today.  I haven't used LISP in 15 years,
>but I still _dream_ in LISP sometime, and this whole thread has 
>reminded me how much I miss it.  I got an incredible rush of pleasure, and
>_memories_ when I first disovered that in python I could write _this_
>
>         apply(eval('widget.' + d['functionName']),(), d['functionArgs'])

Very coincidental that you bring this up now. I have been writing a
module that implements a set class in python and for some moments I
felt like I was programming lisp again. Especially when looking at the
output instances produce when they recursively call the __repr__
function of the objects inside the sets, which can be sets themselves.

>What sort of teaching did the rest of you that took computer science
>courses get?

In those days (early 80's) it was not at all clear whether computer
science (Informatica was the name then and there) 'belonged' to
Psychology or to the Physics department and there was some heavy
competition for students going on. Of course the Physics department
won the first battle because they had a closer link to the computer
hardware development. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if
computer science would have been more influenced by Psychology or by
Linguistics. Especially with computer programming languages getting
higher and higher levels the last word is still not spoken on that
subject. It could also become some visual designing art.

Thanks for your interesting story,

Anton.



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