Wednesday, April 23, 2008

BKNR at the Boston Lisp Meeting

After a weekend full of parentheses in Amsterdam, I attended the Boston Lisp Meeting hosted at MIT.  Peter Dillinger gave a presentation on the ACL2s, which is an Eclipse based user interface for the ACL2 theorem prover.  I have no background in mathematics and as such, I had to guess my way through the terminology, but the talk was entertaining and even though it somehow does not feel right to see an advanced Common Lisp program be controlled by a lowly Java application, I see the practical aspects of the approach.  Bottom line:  Common Lisp loses when it comes to programming modern user interfaces in general, and I'm not sure that we can do much about that. The second speech for the evening was my presentation of the BKNR datastore. I found myself being well received, and the questions from the audience mostly were those that I have been asking myself during the last few years.  I have put the slides online, and I also updated the BKNR website to make the documentation easier to access.  If you have Google Earth installed, you can play with the (alpha quality) GE interface to the BKNR based Samboja Lestari web site.  If you want, you can have a look at the source code, too.  Our use of publish/subscribe for persistent objects may be of interest, as well as the use of Screamer for brute-force determination of the largest rectangle inside an arbitary polygon.  Kilian, who does most of the programming in the BOS project presently, has a background in music composition.  He found it easier to formulate the solution to the problem using constraints rather than using explicit looping.
The socializing part of the meeting was rather short for me as I am mostly staying on Central European Time while being in Boston, so it felt like past midnight to me.  I met several interesting people anyway,  and I hope that I can synchronize my next visits in Cambridge with the meetings.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chaosradio Express on Lisp

Last week, I have been a guest at Tim Pritlove's Chaosradio Express and he interviewed me about Lisp. The podcast is in german, we talked about how I came to Lisp and what I think it is about.