[Pl-seminar] Semantics Seminar Schedule

Mitchell Wand wand at ccs.neu.edu
Mon Jun 4 15:21:13 EDT 2007

NU Programming Languages Seminar
Tuesday, 6/5/07
3:00-5:00pm (** NOTE NON-STANDARD DAY AND TIME **)
Room 366 WVH (http://www.ccs.neu.edu/home/wand/directions.html)

It's All about Being Right: Lessons from the R6RS Process

Michael Sperber

"The original Revised Report on Scheme was taken as a model for future
definitions of Scheme, and a self-selected group of so-called
was that features could be added only by unanimous consent. After a
fairly short period [...], the rate of change of Scheme slowed down
due to this rule. Only peer pressure in a highly intellectual group
could convince any recalcitrant author to change his blackball. As a
result there is a widely held belief that whenever a feature is added
to Scheme, it is clearly the right thing."
    --Guy L. Steele, Jr., Richard P. Gabriel, The Evolution of Lisp

Arguably, this process reached its limits with the Revised^5 Report on
Scheme: Crucial language additions such as modules, records and
exceptions had little chance of reaching unamimous consent, no matter
what the specific design.  While the editors of the Revised^6 Report
no longer follow this rule, standardization is still driven by a
strong desire to do the right thing.  Continuing the tradition of Lisp
culture, reaching this goal has been difficult and elusive, as the
participants hold different and strongly opinionated ideas about what
the right thing is.  In the talk, I will review the R6RS process, and
attempt to show that R6RS is indeed the right thing for Scheme.

Upcoming Events:

# 6/1 "Conversations with Functional Programmers" @ Harvard
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