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Re: Mathematica and Lisp

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  • Subject: [mg129466] Re: Mathematica and Lisp
  • From: John Doty <noqsiaerospace at>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2013 01:39:23 -0500 (EST)
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  • References: <kcqkv4$lq5$>

On Friday, January 11, 2013 8:23:16 PM UTC-7, amzoti wrote:

> It is clear the Mathematica uses Lisp as one of the example programming paradigms it pulls from and I have a general question regarding this.

Perhaps not as much as you think. Mathematica is fundamentally a term rewriting system, a more general concept than the lambda calculus behind Lisp. To be sure, the easiest thing to express as term rewriting is the replacement of a function invocation by its body (as in the lambda calculus), but Mathematica can do more complex things, some rather strange from the lambda calculus point of view. Consider


which yields


Very alien to Lisp!

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