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IBM 360/370 LISP family

by Paul McJones last modified 2023-11-16 11:23



IBM Lisp

  • F. W. Blair and R. D. Jenks. LPL-LISP Programming Language. IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York, 1970. [Cited in Hearn 1971]
  • Fred W. Blair, James H. Griesmer, Joseph Harry, and Mark Pivovonsky. Design and Development Document for LISP on Several S/360 Operating Systems. IBM Research, Yorktown Heights, New York, revised June 24, 1971, 137 pages. PDF

    Reference manual for implementation of LISP running on OS/360, TSS/360, and CP/CMS.

    Stoyan cites an earlier version: F. W. Blair. Design and Development Document for LISP on Several S/360 Operating Systems, IBM Confidential, Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York, 1967.

  • Fred W. Blair. Structure of the Lisp Compiler. IBM Research, Yorktown Heights, no date [Stoyan says circa 1970]. PDF

    "The first Lisp compiler was written by Robert Brayton with the assistance of David Park, in SAP for the 704. That compiler was started in 1957 and was working in 1960 by which time Brayton left MIT. During that interval of time a Lisp compiler written in Lisp was implemented by Klim Maling but that compiler was apparently dropped. The argument advanced was that Brayton's being written in assembly language, would obviously be faster. Difficulties in maintenance developed when Brayton left the project. After Brayton and Maling, Timothy Hart and Michael Levin wrote a compiler in Lisp which was distributed with the 704 Lisp 1.5 system. The compiler that I am most familiar with and will describe today is a descendant of that compiler."

  • Richard Ryniker and Mark Pivovonsky. CMS-LISP I/O Supervisory Functions. IBM Research, Yorktown Heights, May 28, 1974, 4 pages. PDF
  • IBM Data Processing Division. LISP/370 Program Description/Operations Manual. Program Number 5796-PKL, SH20-2076-0, White Plains, New York, March 1978. PDF
  • FWB [Fred W. Blair]. LISP/370 Syntax and Semantics. Revised May 28, 1978, 14 pages. Gift of JonL White.PDF
  • Anonymous. The LISP Destructive Stream Facility. Undated, 6 pages. Gift of JonL White. PDF
  • Anonymous [Jon L White]. LISP/370 : Manipulation of Data-List Structures. G320-6061-0, IBM, 1978. Four-page brochure for LISP/370, which was classified as an Installed User Program from the IBM Internally Developed Program. PDF
  • F. W. Blair. LISP/370 Concepts and Facilities. RC 7771, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, July 18, 1979. From Herbert Stoyan Collection on LISP Programming, Lot Number X5687.2010. PDF
  • F. W. Blair. The definition of LISP1.8 + 0.3i. Internal report, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, September 18, 1979. From Herbert Stoyan Collection on LISP Programming, Lot Number X5687.2010 PDF

    A 1976 version is cited in Padget and Fitch 1985 and Alberga et al. 1984.

  • [Fred Blair?] The things "everyone knows" about YKTLISP. Memo, undated. Gift of Tim Daly. PDF

    "This is basically an attempt to put some of my most popular song-and-dance routines into labanotaion. It is a miscellany of hints, warnings and admonitions written 'on the fly'. It is guaranteed to be incomplete, but (as of today) correct."

  • [Cyril N. Alberga?] To use LISP, actually YKTLISP. July 26, 1982. Gift of Tim Daly. PDF

    "This memo describes one way that one user found satisfactory. It is thought to be of some use for new users."

    Among other things, it lists all the source files of the system.

  • Cyril N. Alberga et al. YKTLISP Program Description and Operations Manual. Computer Science Department, Thomas J. Watson Research Center, IBM Corporation, Yorktown Heights, New York, January 5, 1983, 196 pages. Computer History Museum: gift of James R. Meehan, Lot X6057.2011. PDF
  • Anonymous. LISP/VM User's Guide. Program Number: 5798-DQZ, SH20-6477-0, IBM Corporation, July 1984, 408 pages. PDF
  • Cyril N. Alberga. LISP Assembler Program: Reference Manual. Report RA172, IBM Research Division, September 1985.
  • Cyril N. Alberga. LISP370 files and the EXF operation. Undated. Gift of Tim Daly. PDF

    "YKTLISP supports files which are analogous to CMS TXTLIB files, (akin to other LISPs' FASL files). These files (traditionally of file-type LISPLIB, will be referred to as LISPLIBs herein) are random access, key addressed files of LISP objects, stored in a form which can be read faster than the forms read by the READ function."



  • Jon L White. LISP/370: A Short Technical Description of the Implementation. ACM SIGSAM Bulletin, Volume 12, Number 4, November 1978. ACM DL
  • See [Ager and McDonald 1983] for a comparison between YKTLISP and a new PSL implementation for the System/370.
  • Cyril N. Alberga, Chris Bosman-Clark, Martin Mikelsons, Mary S. Van Deusen, and Julian Padget. Experience with an uncommon Lisp. Proceedings of the 1986 ACM Conference on LISP and Functional Programming. Cambridge, Massachusetts, pages 39-53. ACM DL
  • See also: [Padget 1988] under Cambridge Lisp Papers.



  • C. N. Alberga, A. L. Brown, G. B. Leeman, Jr., M. Mikelsons, and M. N. Wegman. A program development tool. Proceedings of the 8th ACM SIGPLAN-SIGACT symposium on principles of programming languages, Williamsburg, Virginia, 1981, pages 92-104. ACM DL
    • A later version was published in IBM Journal of Research and Development, Volume 28, Number 1, January 1984, pages 60-73. IEEE Xplore
  • G. E. Heidorn, K. Jensen, L. A. Miller, R. J. Byrd, and M. S. Chodorow. The EPISTLE Text-Critiquing System, IBM Systems Journal, Volume 21, Number 3, 1982. IEEE Xplore
  • James H. Davenport. The LISP/VM Foundation of Scratchpad II. The Scratchpad II Newsletter, Volume 1, Number 1, September 1, 1985, IBM Corporation, Yorktown Heights, New York, pages 4-5. PDF at


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