Learning LISP – Resources

Written by on October 8, 2015 in LISP, Programming with 0 Comments

During my talks on Lisp Programming, I am invariably asked to suggest good books to start learning the language. Here is a (partial) list that I readily recommend.

Beginner Level:

Intermediate Level:

Advanced Level:

  • On Lisp, Paul Graham, Prentice Hall, 1993.
  • Let Over Lambda: 50 Years of LISP, Doug Hoyte, 2008.
  • Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming: Case Studies in Common Lisp, Peter Norvig, Morgan Kaufmann, 1992.
  • Artificial Intelligence Programming. Eugene Charniak, Christopher K.Riesbeck and Drew V.McDermott, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1980
  • Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (2nd Edition), Harold Abelson and Gerald Jay Sussman, MIT Press, 1996.
  • Lisp in Small Pieces, Christian Queinnec, Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Most of the above references cover the Common LISP dialect, but some of them use other dialects, for example Scheme. But once you learn Common LISP, understanding other dialects is not that hard.

You  can also find good tutorials online.

LISP Implementations:

There are many good implementations available. Some are open-source and some are commercial. I use LispWorks and Allegro Common Lisp in my work and both are good. One thing I like about LispWorks is that you can build and deploy royalty-free applications. I use it as a scripting language in my Astrology software KPAstro. Allegro Lisp comes with some interesting tools such as AllegroCache and AllegroGraph.

This link gives more details about the various implementations.

Clozure CL (CCL) is a good open-source implementation. Opusmodus, an algorithmic music composition environment that I have started using recently, is built in CCL and I am quite impressed with its capabilities.

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