ELS Editions

3rd European Lisp Symposium

May 6-7, 2010,
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal

Kent Pitman

Kent Pitman has been involved in the design, implementation, and use of the Lisp and Scheme programming languages for more than three decades.

He started his career doing undergraduate research for the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science. He graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science from MIT with concentrations in Psychology, Linguistics, Philosophy of Minds and Machines, and Artificial Intelligence.

Upon graduating, he became a research assistant for the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (1981–1985), and spent a summer at the Open University in 1984 helping to kick off work on their Knowledge Engineers Assistant (KEATS) using Symbolics Lisp Machine technology. He was later hired by Symbolics, where he worked on the operating system, the user interface, and MACSYMA for the Lisp Machine.

Kent has participated intermittently in the Scheme community, both as an early collaborator, in 1981, on the design of T, a Scheme dialect created at Yale, and later as one of several co-authors of the various Revised Reports on Scheme.

Throughout the 1980’s, he collaborated on the design of Common Lisp. A dozen years later, as Project Editor of subcommittee X3J13, he brought that work to completion with the formal standardization of ANSI Common Lisp.

Kent wrote a column, Parenthetically Speaking, for the ACM publication Lisp Pointers. Articles from this column, now available on the web, continue to be cited in answer to recurring questions.

Kent is well known for being the author of the Common Lisp HyperSpec, the hyperlinked version of the Common Lisp ANSI standard and one of the most massively interconnected documents available on the web. That document continues to be extremely popular today and is the reference of choice for many people using Common Lisp.

Kent was also US Representative to and Project Editor for ISO SC22 Working Group 16, which in 1997 produced an ISO standard for the programming language ISLISP.

As a software development manager at PTC working on the well-known engineering tool Mathcad, Kent continues to be involved in the design and implementation of programming languages.

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