Definition of LISP

Technology Dictionary

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What is LISP?

The operation of Lisp is based on the lambda calculation, which consists of a universal computer model capable of simulating any Turing machine. Its name, derived from the Greek letter lambda, is used to link a variable to a function. This type of calculation is surprisingly simple and powerful. It´s based on two rather simple elements: the abstraction of functions (used to generalize expressions through the introduction of variables) and the application of the function, used to evaluate expressions by giving names to certain values.

Lisp soon became the favourite language in the world of Artificial Intelligence. Its use at MIT became commonplace in numerous research projects. Unlike other languages, its mathematical basis allowed it to solve operations and be used to prove theorems.

Many of the languages and some of the most revolutionary Artificial Intelligence programs throughout history are based on Lisp. In fact, terms as common as If, Else or Then were invented by John McCarthy.

Despite the familiarity of these terms, Lisp uses a different structure to that of other programming languages, especially in terms of mathematical operations. However, it is not a language that is difficult to understand.