Believe it or not, the 2010 Google AI Challenge is over, and the winners have been declared. Congrats go first and foremost to developer Gabor Melis, the overall winner and a machine learning, NLP, data mining, and Lisp expert.
A Google site explained the somewhat unusual nature of Melis’s win. “Whereas the Google AI Challenge has traditionally been dominated by entries written in languages like C++, Gabor has solidly taken the top spot with an innovative algorithm. His entry is one of just 33 submissions written in Lisp, and is entitled bocsimacko.”
In a statement from his current employer, Franz Inc., Melis also addressed the issue. He said, “Code shapes thinking as much thinking shapes code. Lisp excels at being a non-intrusive instrument to quickly jot one’s thoughts down, while allowing the abstraction level to rise and the language to get close to the domain.”
Then Melis continued, “This coupled with a highly interactive development environment provides such a fast turn-around time from thought-to-code and vice versa – it makes writing code feel like writing English. The ultimate result is having a domain so closely modeled that it is only limited by skill – not by the programming language.”
So developers who aren’t too familiar with Lisp may want to give it a second (or third or fourth) look. Melis’s achievement is likely to cause at least a small surge in its popularity, and he proved that the language is more than capable of keeping up with rivals in some respects.