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LispM Market Share

    Date: Mon, 15 Jan 90 15:38:04 CST
    From: "kosma%ALAN.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com"%ALAN.kahuna.DECNET.LOCKHEED.COM@warbucks.ai.sri.com

	8. Lisp is still has the aura of being the "AI" language.  Lisp
	   machines are for AI hackers, no?

"It's only because of the impoverished nature of other programming
 languages that people don't think AI is for everyone." 
   -- dogmatic Lisp hacker

    I don't know quite how rare it is for somebody to be doing computational
    physics on a Symbolics (probably extremely rare aside from the
    occasionaly Connection Machine front end) but I guess some (at least
    one) people are.  

Actually, I've done a modest amount of numerical analysis on the lispm
and like it:

 * I don't have to worry about numerical type declarations, since the
   generic arithmetic is fast. 

 * I can make my programs polymorphic with flavors, and not pay nearly
   the penalty I would on another machine. 
 * I can make closures freely, knowing they'll be fast so long as I
   arrange for them to be consed on the stack.

 * I can use the debugger to get a lot more insight into what the 
   program is doing than on other machines.  (I could use the metering
   system too, but I've never had to get that serious.)

 * I get all the expressiveness of Lisp, as opposed to the bit-oriented
   nature of C.

 * I can shift back & forth between numerical & symbolic analysis in
   Macsyma.  (This is much harder, apparently, in Mathematica.  At
   least it seemed so to me when I tried.)

		      If it wasn't for the Connection Machine I would be
    doing fortran on a sun right now (****DEFINITELY**** not by choice), and
    as it is, we will probably be concentrating more on Sun SPARC front ends
    for the connection machine rather than the symbolics, primarily due to
    issues of speed.

Speed of the front end?  Perhaps I'm being ignorant, but why does the
front end have to be faster?