Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
) is a textbook published in 1985 about general computer programming
concepts from MIT Press
written by Massachusetts Institute of Technology
professors Harold Abelson
and Gerald Jay Sussman
, with Julie Sussman
. It has been used as the textbook for an introductory course in computer programming for students of computer science
at MIT, where it is known as 6.001
, and at other schools. The second edition (ISBN 0-262-51087-1) appeared in 1996. Widely considered a classic text in computer science, it is also known as the Wizard Book
(there is a wizard on the cover), and less commonly, the Purple Book
Using a dialect of the Lisp programming language known as Scheme, the book explains core computer science concepts, including abstraction, recursion, interpreters and metalinguistic abstraction.
The program also introduces a practical implementation of the register machine concept, defining and developing an assembler for such a construct, which is used as a virtual machine for the implementation of interpreters and compilers in the book, and as a testbed for illustrating the implementation and effect of modifications to the evaluation mechanism. Working Scheme systems based on the design described in this book are quite common student projects.
SICP has been influential in computer science education, and a number of later books have been inspired by its style.