Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs ( SICP ) is a textbook aiming to teach the principles of computer programming, Such As abstraction in programming, metalinguistic abstraction , recursion , interpreters , and modular programming . It is widely considered a classic text in computer science , [1] and is colloquially known as the wizard book , due to the wizard on the jacket. [2] It was first published in 1985 by MIT Press and written by Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) professors Harold Abelson and Gerald Jay Sussman , with Julie Sussman . It was used as a textbook of MIT introductory programming class and other schools. Before SICP, the introductory courses were almost always filled with learning the details of some programming language, while SICP focuses on finding general patterns from specific problems and building software tools that embody each pattern. [3] The SICP is the most widely used and most commonly used model in the world. [3] The SICP is the most widely used and most commonly used model in the world. [3]


Using Scheme , a dialect of the Lisp programming language , the book explains core computer science concepts.

The program also introduces a practical implementation of the register machine concept, defining and developing an assembler for such a construct, which is used as a virtual machine for the implementation of interpreters and compilers in the book. Effect of modifications to the evaluation mechanism. Working Scheme based on the design.


The book uses some fictional characters repeatedly:

  • Ben Bitdiddle. He considerably predates this class, having been created by Steve Ward for use in problem sets for his predecessor, 6.031, in the 1970s. MIT and other institutions. MIT and other institutions. Citation needed ]
  • Eva Lu Ator: the evaluator
  • Louis Reasoner: the loose reasoner
  • Alyssa P. Hacker: a Lisp hacker
  • Cy D. Fect: A “reformed C programmer.”
  • Lem E. Tweakit: an irate user of Alyssa’s interval arithmetic, enters p. 96.


The book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License. [4]


The book was used as textbook of MIT’s old introductory programming class, 6.001. [5] This class has been replaced by 6.0001, [6] which uses Python . [7] Other schools. [8] The second edition ( ISBN 0-262-51087-1 ) appeared in 1996. MIT’s Large Scale Symbolic Systems class, 6.945. [9]


Byte recommended SICP “for professional programmers who are really interested in their profession”. The magazine stated that the book was not easy to read, but that it would expose experienced programmers to both old and new topics. [10]


SICP has been influential in computer science education, and a number of later books have been inspired by its style.

  • Structure and Interpretation of Classical Mechanics (SICM) , another book by Gerald Jay
  • How to Design Programs (HtDP) , which intends to be a more accessible book for introductory Computer Science, and to address perceived incongruities in SICP
  • Essentials of Programming Languages (EOPL) , a book for Programming Languages courses
  • Lisp in Small Pieces (LiSP) , a book full of Scheme interpreters and compilers


  1. Jump up^ “The Top 9 1 / 2 Books in a Hacker’s Bookshelf” Grok code , retrieved 2010-10-23 
  2. Jump up^ “Wizard Book” , The New Hacker’s Dictionary (2nd ed.) 1993.
  3. Jump up^ Harvey, B (2011), “Why SICP matters?” , The 150th anniversary of MIT , Boston Globe .
  4. Jump up^ SICP , MIT press.
  5. Jump up^ “Electrical Engineering and Computer Science” 6.001 Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs ” . OpenCourseWare . MIT. Spring 2005 . Retrieved 2011-06-28 .
  6. Jump up^ “6.0001”, Catalog , MIT.
  7. Jump up^ Guy, Donald, “The End of an Era”, MIT Admissions (blog comment) , retrieved 2008-08-05 , I talked to Professor Sussman on the phone … Have 6.001 for the last ten years (and I read somewhere Professor Abelson was behind the move too). Understanding the principles is not essential for an introduction to the subject matter anymore. He sees 6.001 as obsolete .
  8. Jump up^ Martin, Edward C (2009-07-20). “Schools” . Schemers . Retrieved 2011-06-28 .
  9. Jump up^
  10. Jump up^ Kilov, Haim (November 1986). “Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs”. Byte . p. 70.

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