[ExI] ai class at stanford

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Tue Aug 23 19:13:10 UTC 2011

On 08/23/2011 10:49 AM, Kelly Anderson wrote:
> 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! :-)

Then you didn't get it.  :)  Especially you didn't fully get macros or 
you would have tuned the language to exactly what you wanted and needed.

> 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.

That is about like describing only the function call of any language.  
It doesn't tell you anything about why lisp is different.
Check out:

> 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.

All lisps have this.  All functions and macros, except for a tiny number 
of special operators, are user level equivalent. Any lisp without both 
first class functions and macros is not lisp.

- samantha

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