Download ACM Turing Award Lectures : The First Twenty Years : 1966 to by Susan Graham and Robert Ashenhurst (Edited and Introduction PDF

By Susan Graham and Robert Ashenhurst (Edited and Introduction by)

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Extra info for ACM Turing Award Lectures : The First Twenty Years : 1966 to 1985 (ACM Press Anthology Series)

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I remember quite vividly how I envied my hardware colleagues, who, when asked about their professional competence, could at least point out that they knew everything about vacuum tubes, amplifiers and the rest, whereas I felt that, when faced with that question, I would stand empty-handed. Full of misgivings I knocked on van Wijngaarden's office door, asking him whether I could speak to him for a moment; when I left his office a number of hours later, I was another person. For after having listened to my problems patiently, he agreed that up till that moment there was not much of a programming discipline, but then he went on to explain quietly that automatic computers were here to stay, that we were just at the beginning and could nct I be one of the persons called to make programming a respectable discipline in the years to come?

Most of the newer languages that have captured our imaginations provide syntactic sugar and semantic enrichment for these models so that we are seduced into making ambitious experiments that we were loath to try before. Consider four of these models: Pipelining (APL), distributed programming (more commonly called object-oriented programming, as exemplified by Smalltalk), reduction programming (functional programming, as exemplified by LISP, EP, or ML), and nonprocedural programming (as exemplified by logic programming with PROLOG).

The by-product was the identification of a number of patterns of abstraction that play a vital role in the whole process of composing programs. Enough is known about these patterns of abstraction that you could devote a lecture to each of them. What the familiarity and conscious knowledge of these patterns of abstraction imply dawned upon me when I realized that, had they been common knowledge 15 years ago, the step from BNF to syntax-directed compilers, for instance, could have taken a few minutes instead of a few years.

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