Steve Russell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named Steve Russell, see Steve Russell (disambiguation).
Steve Russell
Steve Russell.jpg
Born Stephen Russell
1937 (age 78–79)[1]
Other names Slug
Residence Flag of the United States.svg U.S.
Fields Computer science
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Known for Spacewar!, Lisp

Steve "Slug" Russell (born 1937)[1] is an American computer scientist most famous for creating Spacewar!, one of the earliest video games.


Russell wrote the first two implementations of Lisp for the IBM 704. It was Russell who realized that the concept of universal functions could be applied to the language. By implementing the Lisp universal evaluator in a lower-level language, it became possible to create the Lisp interpreter (previous development work on the language had focused on compiling the language).[2] He invented the continuation to solve a double recursion problem for one of the users of his Lisp implementation.[3]

In 1961, Russell created and designed Spacewar!, with the fellow members of the Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT, working on a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-1 minicomputer.[4][5] Spacewar! is widely considered to be the first digital video game[6] and served as a foundation for the entire video game industry.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Steve "Slug" Russell". PDP-1 Restoration Project. Computer History Museum. Retrieved December 31, 2015. 
  2. ^ McCarthy, John (August 12, 1979). "The implementation of LISP". History of Lisp. Retrieved December 31, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Steve "Slug" Russell". Computer History. 
  4. ^ Markoff, John (February 28, 2002). "A Long Time Ago, in a Lab Far Away…". The New York Times. Retrieved April 27, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Spacewar!". PDP-1 Restoration Project. Computer History Museum. Retrieved December 31, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off". Museum of the Moving Image. December 15, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Spacewar! — It Came from MIT". The Dot Eaters. Retrieved December 31, 2015.