This report defines the Kernel programming language and documents its design. Kernel is a statically scoped and properly tail-recursive dialect of Lisp, descended from Scheme. It is designed to be simpler and more general than Scheme, with an exceptionally clear, simple, and versatile semantics, only one way to form compound expressions, and no inessential restrictions on the power of that one compound form. Imperative, functional, and message-passing pro- gramming styles (to name a few) may be conveniently expressed in Kernel. All manipulable entities in Kernel are first-class objects. The primary means of computation are operatives, which are statically scoped combiners that act on their unevaluated operands; operatives subsume the roles handled in most modern Lisps by special forms and macros. Applicatives are combiners that act on their evaluated arguments, hence are roughly equivalent to Scheme pro- cedures; but an applicative is merely a facilitator to computation, inducing evaluation of operands for an underlying operative.
Shutt, John N.
(2005). Revised Report on the Kernel Programming Language. .
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