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6.001 (MIT)
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6.001 (MIT)

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 6.001 /siks dub*l oh wun/, /dub*l oh wun/ or rarely /siks dub*l oh fun/ is an introductory computer class for computer science majors, known for its intensity.

Developed by Hal Abelson and Gerald Jay Sussman, the course is taught in the Scheme computer language and introduces recursion, higher-order functions, object-oriented programming among others. Students who grasp the metacircular interpreter gain entry into the Knights of the Lambda-Calculus. 6.001 has been exported to several other colleges, sometimes successfully. The textbook, "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs", written with Julie Sussman is a classic that can be found on the shelves of many computer scientists. Legendary fictional characters from the class, problem sets, and book include the wise Alyssa P. Hacker, Ben Bitdiddle, Lem E. Tweakit and Eva Lu Ator, the careless Louis Reasoner and Captain Abstraction.

6.001 takes a different approach than most other traditional programming classes. Scheme, an obscure variant of Lisp is used not only for its very simple syntax, but also in attempt to "level the playing field", making it relatively even for those who have never programmed and those who have nearly written their own operating system.

This article (or an earlier version of it) contains material from FOLDOC, used with permission. Update as needed.