NCITS/J13 00-001

NCITS/J13 Annual Report

covering July 1999 through June 2000

NCITS/J13: Programming Language Common LISP

Document Number:  NCITS/J13 00-001
Date: 28 June 2000
Project: 574-M
Reply To: Steve M. Haflich, J13 Chair
Franz Inc.
1995 University Avenue
Berkeley CA 94704
Phone: (510)548-3600
Fax: (510)548-8253

NCITS/J13 has developed the ANS for programming language Common Lisp (X3.226-1994). It now maintains that standard and is considering future revisions and extension.

1. Executive Summary

Paid membership in good standing remains at eleven.

J13 held two teleconference and one 3-day in-person meeting in calendar 1999. There have been as yet no meetings in 2000. The chair will likely call a teleconference meeting some time in the fall.

J13 began consideration of future standards work with the possibility of proposing one or more new project plans for revisions or amendments. There was extensive discussion on these matters at the October 14-16, 1999 meeting, and a number of members volunteered to form ad hoc committees to explore particular areas. Unfortunately, none of these effors subsequently gethered any momentum. The chair's analysis is that all the parties, while well meaning and genuinely interested, are too absorbed in other matters to make the large time committment required by new standards work.

The chair is aware of development projects underway by various parties that might be appropriate for standardization at some time in the future. Many of the tentative work areas the committee considered are still in engineering development stage. There is some sense within the committee that development is more-efficiently done outside the committee; standardization should come only after development. The committee should continue to monitor and be available when that time comes.

2. Projects

a. Project Number and Title
574 - M

Programming Language Common Lisp

b. Project Milestones
Milestone 8 (Publication) was completed in 1994.
The standard was reaffirmed in 1999.
c. Project Description
Development and maintenance of X3.226-1994, the American National Standard for Information Technology -- Programming Language Lisp.
d. Publications During Past Year
e. Statement of Progress

J13 still contemplates continued work on programming language Common Lisp, either by Amendment to the existing standard or by new Projects in related areas. A number of areas of interest for future work have emerged from committee members and from the larger Common Lisp community. However, the committee has not yet achieved critical mass around any particular proposal.

3. Committee Activities (Repeat for each X3 Subgroup See Page 1)

a. Previous Year's Meetings
May 6, 1999, at Franz Inc. in Berkeley, CA, and by teleconference from seven separate sites in the U.S. and Great Britain.

Prior to this meeting, J13 had not met since July 1996.

July 27, 1999, meeting by teleconference
Oct 14-16, 1999, in-person meeting at SRI, Menlo Park, CA
b. Next Year's Planned Meetings
A meeting was tentatively scheduled for January 26, 2000, but was not called as there had been no forward progress on materials for that meeting. The chair intends to call a teleconference meeting some time in the fall to review the current situation, to satisfy the yearly meeting requirement, and to solicit any new business to come before the committee.

Consideration of further meetings is a standing agenda item.

c. Officers -- NCITS/J13
Chair: Steven M. Haflich
(address above)
Vice Chair: (vacant)
IR: Kent M. Pitman
One Vista Circle
Arlington, MA 02474
term ends September, 2000
Secretary: (rotates ad hoc)
Technical Editor: Kent M. Pitman
Vocabulary Representative:  (vacant)
Librarian: (vacant -- performed by chair)

d. Membership

(see Appendix M below)
e. Liaison Activities
The IR is liaison to SC22/WG16 which has been inactive since completion of ISO/IEC 13816:1997 - Programming Language ISLISP.
f. Administrative Matters of Note
The IR term ends September, 2000. The call for volunteers remain open. The chair is not aware of any respondents.
g. Procedural Matters of Note
h. Recommendations

As mentioned in the executive summary, J13 should be left to continue to monitor technological developments for areas that become good cadidates for standardizations.
i. Market Impact

Common Lisp remains a language of choice for high-end engineering and artificial intelligence applications.  The positive features of the language have aged without significant decay, and (unlike during the AI boom of the 1980's)  Lisp systems no longer require expensive, high-end systems.  Both development and delivery system requirements are similar to other languages, and indeed sometimes smaller.

In the past year there has been significant growth in the use of Lisp in Web applications, including but not limited to intelligent servers for dynamic content and intelligent data mining applications. In addition to the applications themselves, the technology substrates need for Web applications are also under active development within the community. J13 will monitor these for when standardization activities may be appropriate.

As evidenced by the frequency and vehemence with which it is cited and discussed in forums such as comp.lang.lisp, the 1994 ANS remains an important work that will continue to be the standard reference for the Common Lisp community. The errors, ambiguities, and other defects in the standard are objectively few. However, the continued lack of standardization for language features areas of system interface (e.g. sockets, threading) is laamentable, as these have become increasingly important to applications in recent years.

4. Anticipated Projects

The contents of the ANS for Common Lisp were finalized by X3J13 in deliberations essentially completed by the early 1990's.  Several language areas considered during that drafting round were rejected at that time as "not yet ready for standardization."  (Others, such as those for Web programming, were not yet really on the horizon.) While the 1994 ANS has proven successful and is enthusiastically accepted by the Lisp community, there is growing sentiment that some of these areas could and should now be reopened for possible new standards work.

There is recent growing enthusiasm in the Lisp community for tools and libraries for Web programming.

Reopening the entire 1400-page ANS for revision would be too large a task for present resources. Fortunately, the changes to the existing ANS likely required to support new areas are likely to be minor. Some extensions could be accomplished without any change to the ANS and easily issued via Amendments specifying optional language libraries.

J13 has no special Internal Procedures; Attachment 2 is omitted.

J13 operates without collecting funds from members; Attachment 3 is omitted. It may someday become appropriate to collect reimbursement for teleconference expenses of future meetings, but this not yet been discussed with the TC. There is no expectation that funds for any other purposes will be necessary.

5. Future Trends in Area of Standardization

Areas which might especially warrant standardization within the next few years include libraries and interfaces supporting Web programming.

The chair has been participating independently in the XML Ad Hoc Working Group and hopes that this area will blossom. The Lisp community has for some years been using machine-processable recodings of the existing 1994 ANS and new XML-coded standards would no doubt be found to be readily accepted by Lisp culture.

Attachment 1.  Committee Projects: X3/SD-4 Data

The current SD-4 data as revised 5/26/99 is correct.  It is included here for completeness:
                                Common LISP
 (Revised 05/26/99 )
 NCITS Project:          574  - M

Standard Designation: X3.226:1994   []

 Title:       Programming Language Common Lisp

Related International Development

 ISO/IEC Doc.: IS 13816:1997
 JTC 1 Project: 22.23

Attachment M. NCITS/ J13 Organizational Membership (06/16/00)

Charles R. Fry (P)
Caelum Research Corporation
Mail Stop 269-1
NASA Ames Research Center
Moffett Field CA 94035-1000
Eric Dahlman (P)
Computer Science Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1873
Gabriel Somlo(A)
Computer Science Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1873
Steven M. Haflich (P)
1995 University Avenue Suite 275
Berkeley CA 94704
Fax: 510-548-8253
Kevin Layer (A)
1995 University Avenue Suite 275
Berkeley CA 94704
Fax: 510-548-8253
Kevin Males (P)
Harlequin Inc
Barrington Hall, Barrington, Cambridge CB2 5RG, UK
Harlequin representation is in flux q
due to corporate and staff reorganization.
Am researching. -smh
John C. Mallery (P)
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
545 Technology Square, NE43-807, Cambridge, MA 02139-4301 USA
Greg Whittaker (P)
MITRE Corporation
Mailstop W647
1820 Dolley Madison Blvd
McLean, VA 22102-3481
David Smith (A)
MITRE Corporation
Mailstop W647
1820 Dolley Madison Blvd
McLean, VA 22102-3481
Kim Barrett (P)
20 Murray Hill Rd
Malden, MA 02148
Kent M Pitman (P)
One Vista Circle
Arlington, MA 02474
Shannon Spires (P)
Sandia National Labs
P.O. Box 5800
M/S 0455
Albuquerque, NM 87185
Richard Billington (A)
Sandia National Labs
P.O. Box 5800
M/S 0455
Albuquerque, NM 87185
Mark Stickel (P)
SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Mabry Tyson (A)
SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Tim Bradshaw (P)
Cley Limited
6 East Hermitage Place, Edinburgh EH6 8AA, Scotland
+44 780 811 7552 (changed at Bradshaw's request -- smh 21Apr02)
Jeff Dalton (A)
Cley Limited
6 East Hermitage Place, Edinburgh EH6 8AA, Scotland
(phone number deleted at Bradshaw's request -- smh 21Apr02)
Terence Nelson (L)
Panasonic Technologies Inc.
2 Research Way
Princeton NJ 08540