Lets LISP like it's 1959

A1 | Thu 24 Jan | 3:50 p.m.–4:35 p.m.

Presented by

  • Kristoffer Gronlund

    Kristoffer learned to program on a Commodore 64 with dreams of becoming a game developer. After having lived that dream for several years, his interest in free software grew and these days he works as a solution architect for high availability at SUSE.


One of my favorite papers in computer science is the original LISP paper by John McCarthy. Written in 1959, it describes something mind-bending: The interpreter for a language in the language that it interprets. If you understand this paper, you understand how computation works. A few years ago, I decided to implement the interpreter described in the paper, and this project turned out to be surprisingly popular. In this presentation, I'll show how to implement the original LISP interpreter in C, and together we will marvel at its elegance. Linux Australia: http://mirror.linux.org.au/pub/linux.conf.au/2019/a1/Thursday/Lets_LISP_like_its_1959.webm YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGY3uBHVVr4