[ExI] ai class at stanford

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Tue Aug 23 17:49:32 UTC 2011

On Sun, Aug 21, 2011 at 11:01 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> Have we any Lisp hipsters here?
> I have been getting back up to speed on my Python coding, but I never did
> study Lisp, and it looks confusing.  I know we have a bunch of code jockeys
> and gurus of various scripting languages, but who here knows from Lisp?  I
> know Microsloth VBA and have written a lot of code in that, but it is nearly
> useless for AI and isn't object oriented: it doesn't allow user-defined
> functions.  Who are our professional coders?  Samantha?  Others?

I'm a professional programmer. I haven't used LISP in a long time, but
I remember it. I "got it", but at the same time I found it so
cumbersome to work in that I never thought it was much good for any of
the projects I was interested in. It is very good for natural language
processing, and for code that writes code... which is very
interesting, but confusing as hell! :-)

So LISP is a nice thing to know... and it is very simple to learn...
basically it goes like this

(Operator Operand Operand ...) with 1 or more operands, that
themselves can be this root structure.

Most LISPs have a way to create new Operators too (functions and
procedures) so you don't have to have the whole program in one list.

The tricky part is figuring out how to make useful stuff from such
simple pieces... but it isn't all that bad. I somehow doubt that the
AI class at Stanford will do much with LISP... although I understand
that at least for a while, it was the first programming language
taught everyone at MIT. Weird choice, but MIT is a weird place.
Stanford too, but I suspect a different kind of weird place. We'll


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