Tuesday, October 25, 2011

John McCarthy

John McCarthy died yesterday.  It's funny, I looked at his website yesterday and later thought about how old he must be, not knowing he had passed.  He invented the LISP programming language back in the late 1950s. Even though I don't program in LISP - I wrote a Scheme plugin for GIMP a few years ago; that's about all - I admire it a lot.  Thinking about how simple its syntax is and how simple its runtime is, yet how powerful it is just makes me feel good inside.  It's like a work of art.

So, those of you who are programmers: to commemorate, read McCarthy's original specification for LISP, which is an excellent read for any computer scientist.  And then write a program in the functional style.

John McCarthy, 1927-2011

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