The Common Lisp Programming Language

"The programming language of choice for those who set out to solve the world's very hardest problems."

Think of Lisp as an alternative to or refuge from "commodity" languages like Java, C. and C++, especially for your most complex and difficult projects.

The Lisp language family was originally designed four decades ago to aid the then-nascent Artificial Intelligence industry, and has proven itself over the interim to be a powerful ally in tackling the world's most difficult kinds of problems:

  • problems that involve planning, problem solving, and learning
  • problems whose specifications are ill-defined or change dynamically
  • problems that involve qualitative reasoning
  • problems involving heterogeneous data or considerable amounts of potentially erroneous data that must be sifted and repaired
  • problems that require very fast time to market
  • problems that must manage complex control flow, including sophisticated error handling

Common Lisp is an ideal technology for addressing the problems of the modern web.

Common Lisp is ANSI standard language X3.226-1994, renewed in 1999 and available from ANSI in PDF format as X3.226-1994 (R1999), although some people have complained that the PDF is poor resolution and hard to read. (Perhaps ANSI did not retain the original PostScript files and had to scan it, or perhaps they didn't know how to produce good PDF from the PostScript files they had. One thing is certain though: Kent M. Pitman, the person serving as Project Editor at the time of this standard's original publication, was never contacted about the move to PDF and was not asked to assist in the production of readable PDF's, so he disclaims all responsibility for the mess that resulted.)

The equivalent content is available for easy web viewing as the Common Lisp HyperSpec, often just referred to as CLHS. Please note that this webbed document is a copyrighted work, but you can download a copy for your own use (subject to some relatively modest restrictions) from here.

Community resources for the Common Lisp language, including FAQs, lists of available vendors, and sources of free implementations are available from the Association of Lisp Users (ALU). Useful wiki sites are the ALU wiki and a Common-Lisp based wiki. Some information about meetings related to Common Lisp can be found found on this site's "meetings" page and the ALU wiki page for "Local Lisp User Groups". Show your Lisp spirit by using a Lisp logo on your applications.

If you think a programming problem is "impossible", get a second opinion from a Common Lisp programmer!

Copyright © 2005 by Kent M Pitman. All Rights Reserved.

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