Sunday, January 16, 2011

The plagiarize series - EWD1036

what is an EWD: "Dijkstra was known for his habit of carefully composing manuscripts with his fountain pen. The manuscripts are called EWDs, since Dijkstra numbered them with EWD, his initials, as a prefix. According to Dijkstra himself, the EWDs started when he moved from the Mathematical Centre in Amsterdam to the Technological University (then TH) Eindhoven. After going to the TUE, Dijkstra experienced a writer's block for more than a year. Looking closely at himself he realized that if he wrote about things they would appreciate at the MC in Amsterdam his colleagues in Eindhoven would not understand; if he wrote about things they would like in Eindhoven, his former colleagues in Amsterdam would look down on him. He then decided to write only for himself, and in this way the EWD's were born. Dijkstra would distribute photocopies of a new EWD among his colleagues; as many recipients photocopied and forwarded their copy, the EWDs spread throughout the international computer science community. The topics were computer science and mathematics, and included trip reports, letters, and speeches. More than 1300 EWDs have since been scanned, with a growing number transcribed to facilitate search, and are available online at the Dijkstra archive of the University of Texas.[6]"

EWD1036 partially explains (pages 4,5) why we started at calculus :) Thank you Mr. Dijkstra!

Also of note:
"Computer science as taught today does not follow all of Dijkstra's advice. Following Dijkstra's earlier writings, the curricula generally emphasize techniques for managing complexity and preparing for future changes. These include abstraction, programming by contract, and design patterns. ....."
I wonder how that plays with the whole OOP vs. DOD topic.

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