What happened in the basements of the AI lab at MIT in the late '50 is truly inspiring and this paper is telling us that story. Herbert Stoyan spent many years researching those early days and even McCarthy is pointing at his work in his papers!
Lisp is one of the oldest languages out there. When I started learning about functional programming, I got interested in why Lisp languages are what they are today, what's the relationship with AI, what lambda calculus has to do with this, or why I kept hearing things like "Lisp has failed".
Surprisingly, many concepts that we give for granted in functional programming today were there almost 60 years ago!
The paper is quite accessible and a good start for the new season of PWL. Some Lisp sources will be presented but there is no need to have a deep knowledge of the language. An html version of the paper is available at
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