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Discussion meeting (March 2010)

Date: March 2, 2010

Location: Linux Caffe

Attending:
  • Paul Tarvydas
  • Justin (Paul's son)
  • Vish Singh
  • Mark Bolusmjak
  • Brian Connoy
  • Abram Hindle

This was a general discussion meeting.


Vish's notes:

- Mark demoed his Scheme compiler written in Javascript: http://github.com/z5h/zb-lisp
- based on Dybvig's "Three Scheme Implementations" paper
- compiles Scheme not to Javascript, but to a representation suitable for execution upon a simple virtual machine
- why write it in Javascript? for fun. Javascript is sort of an interesting language, if you pick and choose certain parts of it.
- also, it's cool to have a compiler that can basically run on any machine (since we all have browsers)

- Mark: Git and Github are both really cool
- Paul asked about the pros/cons of Git and distributed version control systems (DVCS) generally
- Abram explained the fundamental differences between centralized and distributed version control systems
- Abram: why the big fuss when Github goes down? by the nature of Git, it shouldn't matter.. you can pull from any copy of the repository
- within DVCS, should one use Git or Mercurial?
- Vish: Git is MacGyver, Mercurial is James Bond

- Abram demoed his entry to the Google AI Challenge (a challenge to produce a Tron AI)
- didn't have a lot of time to work on it, was buggy but did ok
- Abram: Common Lisp doesn't have a function to copy an array?
- interesting: winner of the challenge analyzes his program

- Brian gave a demo of Visual Lisp in AutoCAD
- a very limited Lisp, lacking features we have come to take for granted (such as lexical closures)
- Common Lisp can interact with AutoCAD, but you lose some of the integration you get with Visual Lisp
- Abram suggested writing a compiler from a modern Lisp to Visual Lisp
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