Nikodemus Siivola

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ELS 2009 #
hacking, June 1st 2009

Milan was hot, and the campus quite confusing — but the symposium itself was very good.

Given that ELS 2008 netted ~50 registrants, the 45 who showed up this time seem a clear success to me, given both the ILC earlier this year and the general state of the econony the world over.

Talks and papers: mostly quite interesting! Particular highlights for me personally were Thomas Burdick's paper on compiling FEXPRs, and Pascal Costanza's on a hygiene compatible macro system for Common Lisp.

About the latter: I'm fairly sure that gensyms could be used for aliases instead of interned symbols, since in case of locals the externalization does the right thing, and for global names one can use (SYMBOL-VALUE 'FOO) etc as aliases. Moreover, it appears to me that it would not be particularly hard for the compiler to provide aliases implicitly — making a hygienic macro system that integrates nicely with vanilla CL a relatively simple matter. Cool stuff.

On an unrelated note, I think many people who were around for the ANSI standardization process have a distinctly different view of Common Lisp than those who came in later: the first group of people have a tendency to see it as a historical accident were they didn't get some things right — whereas I (and I believe many others too) see CL as something that did get many things right. These aren't mutually exclusive of course, but is a different emphasis.