William Clinger (computer scientist)

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William D. Clinger
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationPhD, MIT
Known for
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
InstitutionsNortheastern University
Doctoral advisorCarl Hewitt

William D. Clinger is an associate professor in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University.[1] He is known for his work on higher-order and functional programming languages, and for extensive contributions in helping create and implement international technical standards for the programming language Scheme via the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Clinger was an editor of the second through fifth Revised Reports on Scheme (R2RS – R5RS),[2] and an invited speaker on Scheme at the Lisp50 conference celebrating the 50th birthday of the language Lisp.[3] He has been on the faculty at Northeastern University since 1994.[4]


Clinger obtained his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under the supervision of Carl Hewitt. His doctoral research revolved around defining a denotational semantics for the actor model of concurrent computing,[5] which is the same model of computing that originally motivated development of Scheme.[6]

In addition to editing the R2RS – R5RS Scheme standards, Clinger's contributions to Scheme have included the development of compilers for two implementations of the language: MacScheme,[7] and Larceny.[8] He also invented efficient algorithms for hygienic macro expansion, accurate decimal-to-binary conversions, and bounded-latency generational garbage collection.[3]


  1. ^ "William D. Clinger". Khoury College of Computer Sciences. Northeastern University. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
  2. ^ "Scheme Standards". SchemePunks. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
  3. ^ a b Schedule. Lisp50. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
  4. ^ Costanza, Pascal (October 2008). "William Clinger will speak at Lisp50". Lisp50. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  5. ^ Clinger, William (June 1981). "Foundations of Actor Semantics". Mathematics Doctoral Dissertation. MIT. hdl:1721.1/6935. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ Steele, Guy L.; Sussman, Gerald Jay (December 1998). "The First Report on Scheme Revisited" (PDF). Higher-Order and Symbolic Computation. 11 (4): 399–404. doi:10.1023/A:1010079421970. S2CID 7704398. Retrieved 2006-06-19.
  7. ^ Kantrowitz, Mark; Margolin, Barry (1997). "Commercial Scheme implementations". FAQ: Scheme Implementations and Mailing Lists. Retrieved 2009-01-10. MacScheme is a Scheme interpreter and compiler for the Apple Macintosh, and includes an editor, debugger and object system. ... Implemented by Will Clinger, John Ulrich, Liz Heller and Eric Ost.
  8. ^ Clinger, William D. (2008). "History". The Larceny Project. Retrieved 2009-01-10.

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