Everyone says “Nobody uses Lisp” and Lispers say “Yes they do, there’s ITA, and, um, Autocad, and, uh, oh yeah, Paul Graham wrote Viaweb in Lisp!” Not very helpful for either side.
We now have a list: awesome-lisp-companies. It isn’t official nor exhaustive, but it’s way better than the past situaton.
Of course, see also:
- lisp-lang.org’s success stories for a showcase of projects and companies in aerospace, AI & Machine Learning, Science, Graphics etc.
- Franz.com success stories
- LispWorks’ success stories
In a nutshell, what’s Common Lisp good for? Let’s quote Kent Pitman’s famous answer:
But please don’t assume this is an exhaustive list, and please don’t assume Lisp is only useful for Animation and Graphics, AI, Bioinformatics, B2B and Ecommerce, Data Mining, EDA/Semiconductor applications, Expert Systems, Finance, Intelligent Agents, Knowledge Management, Mechanical CAD, Modeling and Simulation, Natural Language, Optimization, Research, Risk Analysis, Scheduling, Telecom, and Web Authoring just because these are the only things they happened to list. Common Lisp really is a general language capable of a lot more than these few incidental application areas, even if this web page doesn’t totally bring that out.
(and this list doesn’t mention that it was used for auto-piloting the Deep Space 1 spaceship by the NASA for several days).
Here’s a shorter list of companies using CL in production©.
Quantum computing companies use CL, especially SBCL:
They already sponsored a Quicklisp development. They chose Common Lisp (SBCL). Video. Their Lisp even runs 40% faster than their C code.
And there’s at least also HRL Laboratories in the Quantum space (I am not counting defunkt Quantum companies). They are “one of the world’s premier physical science and engineering research laboratories. [They] engage in the development of a full quantum device and computation stack, including an optimizing compiler for a quantum programming language”. Uses SBCL.
Grammarly is a famous English language writing-enhancement platform.
ITA Software is still Google’s leading airfaire search and scheduling platform. They use SBCL, and contribute to its development.
Kina knowledge is a small company that “automates the processing of documents”: “We use Common Lisp extensively in our document processing software core for classification, extraction and other aspects of our service delivery and technology stack”. See their Lisp Interview: questions to Alex Nygren
Doremir Music Research AB develops ScoreCloud, a music notation software (a LispWorks product). It lets you play an instrument, sing or whistle into the app, and it writes the music score. Futuristic indeed.
I’ll stop here and I’ll let you discover the awesome-lisp-companies list!