[PLUG-TALK] Any lispers out there? Newbie needs booster shot

Renegade Penguin renegadepenguin at comcast.net
Sun Aug 21 10:17:09 PDT 2005


LISP has some good points, and as was pointed out, is often used as a 
starting point in Artificial Intelligence.

I can say with a great deal of certainty because I have worked 
extensively in this arena, that LISP is often somewhere that AI starts.  
It's a great theoretical place to start.

However, other languages have much more optomization for their 
compilers, hence the *generated exectuables* are significantly faster.  
When working with AI, results are the only thing that count.  My pet 
project is teaching computers to write music.  Utilizing neural networks 
and programmable schematics designed in other languages has given far 
better results than using LISP.

LISP is, as others have pointed out, almost a way of thinking.  It 
forces one to design their applications to a much higher degree than 
others.  Learning basic flowcharting is almost mandatory.  Advanced 
flowcharting brings additional opportunities.  Other languages have the 
ability to withstand and tolerate ugly hacks versus the esperanto-like 
qualities of LISP.  In other words, LISP is much less fault-tolerant.  
If you're missing a single parentheses or have one too many, your app 
won't compile properly if at all.

One of the problems with LISP is that it is an extremely high-level 
language, and the toolkits for LISP (or the lack thereof) dictate that 
significantly higher processing environments exist.  Minimum RECOMMENDED 
requirements for things like Autocad are Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent, 
1,024 MB (1 GB) of RAM, Video card with 1152x864 resolution or higher, 
32 MB RAM, OpenGL support, 225 MB of free space.  Minimum.  *googled for 
this*  Minimum requirements are PIII 800, 512 MB RAM, XP or higher, 500 
MB free space, 1024x786, IE6.

Write the same thing in other languages (or even Assembly) and you'll 
find you can produce a faster system with a smaller footprint.

The toolkits are what make one language preferable over another.  LISP, 
while it does have its positive side, requires much more horsepower, and 
the installed base for programmers is, as pointed out, significantly 
smaller than others.

I don't want to discourage people from using a language that they like, 
but when asking why LISP doesn't take off - it's simply that one is 
forced to think much more like an artist with their code than just 
hacking something out quickly (quick & dirty).  Code must be more 
elegant and more designed than hammered out.  Despite having better 
compilers than in the past, it's still not as efficient as other 
languages that have much more optimized compiler bases.

RP
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