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Common Lisp Statistics -- based on LispStat (Tierney) but updated for Common Lisp and incorporating lessons from R (
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This file will work better with org-mode and David Ito´s org-babel-lisp. Along those lines, please note his hypo approach to literate programming for gaming, as an org-babel extension. [fn:1] . That approach describes a literate approach for describing games, but clearly is no different than the literate approaches described for data analysis, which is just another game.

Fast Start

You probably did (preferred)

git clone git://


git clone git://
git clone

set up git submodules to do the right thing.

  • State “TODO” from “” [2010-10-10 Sun 23:30]
git submodules init
git submodules update

to get the whole package.

_Obsolete_: Make the shared library liblispstat with an ANSI C compiler (only gcc tested at this point). This is used for numerical support which might be more robust to obtain from GSLL or similar other systems. It would be done via.

cd lib && make && cd

run a common lisp (SBCL, CMUCL, CLISP, CLOZURE-CL) starting in the current directory. Recent versions of CFFI and LIFT can be found in the external/ subdirectory, and should be autoload-able, assuming that you are using a Lisp implementation supporting ASDF. (AJR-FIXME: need to upload my GIT mirrors to or similar, and have them potentially available as submodules if needed)

(on Debian or similar systems: can use CLC (Common Lisp Controller) or SBCL approaches, i.e. ~/.clc/systems or ~/.sbcl/systems should contain softlinks to the cls, cffi, and lift ASDF files (i.e. cls.asd, cffi.asd, and lift.asd). AJR-FIXME: There is probably a similar incantation for other CL’s, need to record that here!).

Step through ls-demo.lisp for a range of examples of activities.

Example Usage steps

change directory into the CommonLispStat working directory.

start your lisp

follow the commands in the ls-demo.lisp (need to add link) file, i.e.

(asdf:oos ‘asdf:load-op :cls)

use ASDF to load lispstat

(in-package :ls-user)

work in the scratch user package. Normally, one would create a special package to work in.

(normal-rand 20)

(setf mytest (normal-rand 20))

… (and so on) …

and see if they work (basic CFFI functionality for external C library, LIFT package for unit-testing framework to ensure run time stability).

Inform moi of problems or successes if there is anything wrong, or even if something happens to work.

Current beliefs:

  • CMUCL and SBCL seem to work just fine at this stage.
  • CLISP is finicky regarding the problems that we have with CFFI conversation. In particular that we can not really do typing that we need to take care of. I think this is my problem, not someone elses.
  • Need to test ECL. Clozure-CL seems to work.


See Doc/README* for history and design considerations See Doc/INSTALL for getting this to work and run

Working on your own modifications

git clone git:// 
cd CommonLispStat
git submodules init
git submodules update

will pull the whole repository, and create a “master” branch to work on. If you are making edits, which I’d like, you don’t want to use the master branch, but more to use a topic-centric branch, so you might:

git checkout -b myTopicBranch

and then work on myTopicBranch, pulling back to the master branch when needed by

git checkout master
git pull . myTopicBranch


git rebase myTopicBranch


of course, perhaps you want to contribute to the mob branch. For that, after cloning the repository as above, you would:

git checkout -b mob remotes/origin/mob

(work, work, work… through a cycle of

	 git add <files just edited>
	 git commit -m "what I just did"

ad-nauseum. When ready to commit, then just:

git push git+ssh:// mob:mob


and it’ll be put on the mob branch, as a proposal for merging.

Another approach would be to pull from the topic branch into the mob branch before uploading. Will work on a formal example soon.

(the basic principle is that instead of the edit cycle on mob, do something like:

git checkout mob
git pull . myTopicBranch   
git push git+ssh:// mob:mob


Alternatively, one can work on the github repositories as well. They are a bit differently organized, and require one to get a github account and work from there. In that case, you’d need to D/L the libraries.

That gets a bit tricky, but see ./bin/ for an example.

Documentation and examples

I’ve started putting examples of use in function documentation. If you are a lisp’er, you’ll find this pendantic and insulting. Many of the uses are trivial. However, this has been tested out on a number of research statisticians (the primary user audience) and found useful.

Still need to write the (run-doc-ex ‘function-name) function, which would print out the example and run it live. Hopefully with the same results. I’ve used XML markup for this, but for no particular reason, we could have used SEXPs as well. This is currently done by using an <example> tag set, as in



[fn:1] I´m not including instructions for Emacs or git, as the former is dealt with other places and the latter was required for you to get this. Since disk space is cheap, I´m intentionally forcing git to be part of this system. Sorry if you hate it. Org-mode, org-babel, and org-babel-lisp, and hypo are useful for making this file a literate and interactively executable piece of work.

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