[TUHS] Happy birthday, John Backus!
toby at telegraphics.com.au
Mon Dec 3 14:11:51 AEST 2018
On 2018-12-02 8:32 PM, Rob Pike wrote:
> Fortran was a marvel. Don't judge it by today's ideas about language design.
The 1977 lecture was by John Backus, not me, so I'm confused who that's
> On Mon, Dec 3, 2018 at 9:34 AM Toby Thain <toby at telegraphics.com.au
> <mailto:toby at telegraphics.com.au>> wrote:
> On 2018-12-02 5:17 PM, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> > As every computer programmer should know, John Backus was emitted in
> > 1924; he gave us the BNF syntax (he is the "B"), but he also gave us
> > that FORTRAN obscenity... Yeah, it was a nice language at the
> time; the
> > engineers loved it, but tthe computer scientists hated it (have
> you ever
> > tried to debug a FORTRAN program that somebody else wrote?).
> He made amends by being early to recognise that problem, and propose
> solutions, in his 1977 ACM Turing Award lecture (still perfectly
> relevant today):
> > Trivia: there is no way that FORTRAN can be described in any
> syntax; it
> > is completely ad-hoc.
> > -- Dave
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