The *Lisp (StarLisp) programming language was conceived of in 1985 by Cliff Lasser and Steve Omohundro (employees of the Thinking Machines Corporation) as a way of providing an efficient yet high-level language for programming the nascent Connection Machine.
A *Lisp Simulator, an emulator meant to run *Lisp code on standard, non-parallel machines, was developed at the same time by JP Massar. This simulator still exists , and was ported to ANSI Common Lisp in 2001. An older version written in the original Common Lisp, exists in the Carnegie Mellon University AI Archives
Later versions of *Lisp, involving significant upgrades to its functionality and performance, were worked on by Cliff Lasser, Jeff Mincy and J. P. Massar through 1989.
StarLisp was implemented on the Thinking Machines CM5 circa 1990-1991 by J. P. Massar and Mario Bourgoin.
StarLisp operated on PVARS (Parallel Variables). PVARS represented Connection Machine memory, and were essentially vectors: one element per CM processor (or virtual processor).
StarLisp consisted of standard operations on PVARS, like vector addition and multiplication, along with communications primitives that essentially reordered the elements of a PVAR using the CM's communications hardware to optimally route the data.
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