The LISP language was developed by John McCarthy during the period 1956 to 1958, and was first implemented during the 1959-1962 period. It was intended for antificial intelligence programming. Its earliest applications included programs which performed symbolic differentiation, integration, and mathematical themorem verification. More recent AI applications have grown into the areas of natural language understanding, computer vision, robotics, knowledge representation, and expert systems. In all of these areas, LISP has been the predominant programming vehicle for developing experimental systems.


As a functional language, LISP has played a special role in language definition. It is the fist to provide recursion, first-class functions, garbage collection, and a formal language definitino. LISP is unparallel in its ability for expressing recursive algorithms which manipulate dynamic data structures. It has an unusual expressiveness and simplicity of style.

Source: SIGPLAN notices,"Programming languages" by Tucker