"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Development of Chez Scheme

Kent Dybvig...

"Chez Scheme Version 1 was completed in 1984 and released in 1985. I am amazed to find myself working on it still more than two decades later. If asked in 1985 to look forward twenty years, I would have said that Chez Scheme and Scheme itself would have long since found their way into the bit bucket of history. After all, the oldest languages then were no older than Scheme is today, and many languages had come and gone. Many languages have come and gone since, but Scheme, with its roots in the circa-1960 Lisp, lives on. The user community now is larger and more diverse than
ever, so with any luck, the language and implementation will last at least another two decades. It's a scary thought."


I started using various Lisps in school, but my first taste of Common Lisp was the one being developed by Data General in 1984 in DG's RTP facility. I was up in Masachusetts, but a few of us there started prototyping CAD applications with DG's Common Lisp. And we went to AAAI and the L&FP conference in Austin in 1984 right when AI was booming and the DG compiler folks were debuting their CL.

Around that time I learned from the RPT folks that their Common Lisp was derived from Dybvig's PhD work on Scheme n RTP at UNC. At which point I wondered how great it would have been to preserve Scheme in the system as well as CL.

The paper above from Dybvig explains more of what was happening, especially from his POV. Interesting reading from back in the early days of Scheme.

Days of yore.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.