John McCarthy, creator of LISP and the one who coined the term Artificial Intelligence, died today.
LISP makes programming fun. And, because LISP is so expressive, it is possible to write very powerful programs with just a few lines of code. As a matter of fact, John McCarthy created LISP in order to be able to write Artificial Intelligence programs as FORTRAN (the only other high-level language at that time) was not capable of manipulating symbols, only numbers.
Since the 60s, LISP has evolved into the very powerful but somewhat difficult to master Common LISP.
Personally, I am a major fan of Scheme, a simplified version of LISP designed to teach programming but powerful enough to do great things (e.g. writing plugins for The Gimp). I used Scheme in the past to introduce real programming to my university students. One implementation of Scheme is Racket, a great open source software.
Ruby, my currently favourite programming language, is also a LISP.
Steve Jobs died 20 days ago. Dennis Ritchie died 10 days ago. Today, we geeks, are losing another monument…