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Re: [Axiom-developer] The purpose of GCL

From: Tim Daly
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] The purpose of GCL
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2016 13:01:27 -0400


Bill Schelter developed AKCL under contract to IBM Research.
I was the person who worked at IBM with him. I worked on the
garbage collector and tail call elimination, among other things.
AKCL eventually became GCL.

Bill also rescued Maxima from the collapse of Symbolics.

GCL was designed to optimize symbolic algebra software.
Bill and I spent a great deal of time minimizing hotspots and
tuning GCL for maximum performance.

I was responsible for a great deal of the effort to move Axiom
(Scratchpad) to Common Lisp which was just becoming a
standard at that time. I was partially active on that effort,
mostly reviewing the X3J13 publications along with Fred Blair.
Bill focused on the parts we needed to run Axiom.

Camm has been vital in keeping Axiom alive and well. Various
Common Lisp implementations present problems. SBCL
recently had a build that caused problems. Camm has always
been responsive to our needs. Each of the Lisps have strong
and weak points but Camm and GCL are vital to our effort.

Camm is also connected to the Debian repository and is
responsible for the Axiom distribution in that repository. Thus
you can say 'apt-get install axiom' and it just works.

It's not just about the language, it's also about the people.

Tim Daly
Axiom Lead Developer

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