Stanford LISP 1.6; the original Standard LISP

Work on LISP spread from McCarthy’s original M.I.T. project to other projects at M.I.T. and then to other institutions as people moved on and word about the capabilities of the language spread. John Allen brought a snapshot of the M.I.T.’s PDP-6 LISP to Stanford where it evolved into Stanford LISP 1.6 through the work of Allen, Lynn Quam, and Whitfield Diffie.

At the recent International Lisp Conference, I gave a short presentation, and afterwards several LISP pioneers chatted with me. Lynn Quam volunteered to provide me with scanned copies of a number of historic documents concerning LISP 1.6: SAILON 28.1 (compare with MIT AIM-116a), SAILON 28.2, SAILON 28.3, and SAILON 28.6, as well as memos describing various library packages.

Lynn also provided a copy of Stanford AIM-90, the 1969 Standard LISP specification by Anthony Hearn. Hearn designed Standard LISP as an abstraction layer upon which his REDUCE computer algebra system was implemented. AIM-90 included a 5-page appendix of definitions to make Stanford’s LISP/360 conform to Standard Lisp. (The later Portable Standard LISP project was a from-scratch implementation.)

[Edited 10 May 2014: =, etc.]

Classic LISP books online

With the permission of The MIT Press, I have posted online copies of two classic LISP books on the History of Lisp website at the Computer History Museum:

  • John McCarthy, Paul W. Abrahams, Daniel J. Edwards, Timothy P. Hart and Michael I. Levin. LISP 1.5 Programmer’s Manual. The M.I.T. Press, 1962, second edition. PDF
  • Berkeley and Bobrow, editors. The Programming Language LISP: Its Operation and Applications. Information International, Inc., March 1964 and The MIT Press, April 1966. PDF

In addition to these I have continued to track down information about more versions of LISP, so the web site keeps growing.

I also gave a brief announcement of this project at the recent International Lisp Conference 2005, and a number of people volunteered to help me track down more information.

If I’ve neglected your favorite version of LISP, please go through your closet or basement and find those manuals, listings, mag tapes, etc.

[Edited 10 May 2014: =>, etc.]