Lisp was originally created as a practical mathematical notation for computer programs, influenced by the notation of Alonzo Church's lambda calculus. It quickly became the favored programming language for artificial intelligence (AI) research, according to Wikipedia.

If Lisp is still used in AI, then is it worthy of learning it, particularly in the context of machine learning and deep learning?

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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of Is Lisp still being used to tackle AI problems? $\endgroup$
    – mindcrime
    Jun 23 '17 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ All languages have their advantages. LISP has many advantages which still makes it good for use in AI. This link will help. $\endgroup$
    – Ugnes
    Jun 24 '17 at 6:16
  • $\begingroup$ This question/answers will be a nice place to look. $\endgroup$
    – Ugnes
    Nov 17 '18 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ Please, next time ask a question that can be answered more objectively. Asking if something is "worth learning" will lead to opinions. A better way of wording this would be "What are the pros of using Lisp for this task X?". Keep this in mind next time! $\endgroup$
    – nbro
    May 13 '20 at 20:18

LISP was popular because back in the old days of AI because of the functional syntax, which worked well with the GOFAI paradigm of the time.

Nowadays most researchers have given up on the classical computational theory of mind (read: language of thought), and thus also the GOFAI paradigm that it associates with.

LISP is not what you want to learn if you want to do neural network stuff, but the philosophical background is still important to know.


AI is a very diverse field of research, technology and science, so many computer technologies and programming languages are used in various AI-related projects.

Most of the recent developments and breakthroughs are happening in the machine learning, deep-learning areas where the most widely used programming language is Python. The reason is that the major deep learning frameworks (see Tensorflow, Theano, Keras, neon, Caffe) have Python interfaces. LISP is not really used in these areas, however you can find some deep learning frameworks (for example Cortex by Thinktopic) implemented in Clojure.

LISP was the language of choice for other kind of AI projects, mostly for natural language processing (see SHRDLU, Cyc).


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