Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Free online book Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs has been the basis of MIT’s entry-level computer science subject since 1980. We had been teaching this material for four years when the first edition was published, and twelve more years have elapsed until the appearance of this second edition.


We are pleased that our work has been widely adopted and incorporated into other texts. We have seen our students take the ideas and programs in this book and build them in as the core of new computer systems and languages. In literal realization of an ancient Talmudic pun, our students have become our builders. We are lucky to have such capable students and such accomplished builders. This edition emphasizes several new themes. The most important of these is the central role played by different approaches to dealing with time in computational models: objects with state, concurrent programming, functional programming, lazy evaluation, and nondeterministic programming. We have included new sections on concurrency and nondeterminism, and we have tried to integrate this theme throughout the book. The first edition of the book closely followed the syllabus of our MIT one-semester subject. With all the new material in the second edition, it will not be possible to cover everything in a single semester, so the instructor will have to pick and choose. In our own teaching, we sometimes skip the section on logic programming (section 4.4), we have students use the register-machine simulator but we do not cover its implementation (section 5.2), and we give only a cursory overview of the compiler (section 5.5). Even so, this is still an intense course. Some instructors may wish to cover only the first three or four chapters, leaving the other material for subsequent courses.

Table of Contents

  • Building Abstractions with Procedures
  • Building Abstractions with Data
  • Modularity, Objects, and State
  • Metalinguistic Abstraction
  • Computing with Register Machines

Book Details

Author(s): Hal Abelson, Jerry Sussman and Julie Sussman.
Format(s): HTML
Number of pages: 683
Link: Read online.

Leave a Reply