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Structure of a LISP system using two-level storage

By Daniel G. Bobrow, Daniel L. Murphy

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 10 No. 3, Pages 155-159

In an ideal list-processing system there would be enough core memory to contain all the data and programs. Described in this paper are a number of techniques that have been used to build a LISP system utilizing a drum for its principal storage medium, with a surprisingly low time penalty for use of this slow storage device. The techniques include careful segmentation of system programs, allocation of virtual memory to allow address arithmetic for type determination, and a special algorithm for building reasonably linearized lists. A scheme for binding variables is described which is good in this environment and allows for complete compatibility between compiled and interpreted programs with no special declarations.

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