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language LISt Processing language.
(Or mythically "Lots of Irritating Superfluous Parentheses").
fundamental data types and the interpretation of code as data
Data objects in Lisp are lists and atom
s. Lists may contain
lists and atoms. Atoms are either numbers or symbols.
Programs in Lisp are themselves lists of symbols which can be
treated as data. Most implementations of Lisp allow functions
All Lisp functions and programs are expressions that return
values; this, together with the high memory use of Lisp, gave
rise to Alan Perlis
's famous quip (itself a take on an Oscar
Wilde quote) that "Lisp programmers know the value of
everything and the cost of nothing".
in the late 1950s. Lisp is
use except Fortran
. Accordingly, it has undergone
considerable change over the years. Modern variants are quite
different in detail. The dominant HLL
among hackers until
the early 1980s, Lisp now shares the throne with C
One significant application for Lisp has been as a proof by
example that most newer languages, such as COBOL
already been done once, there is no justification for