Several years ago my professor gave me a book that contained the most important computer science papers, including Von Neuman's paper on architectures and Dijkstra's Go-To paper. The book was an older, blue hard-cover.

Sadly, it got lost somewhere... and so I thought this might be a good place to see if anybody can point me at its editors, title, place where I can purchase it?

Does anybody know the book?

  • $\begingroup$ "Most important" was probably very subjective a characterization. Can you give a more comprehensive list of the articles included in the book? $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 6:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ On interest: papers-we-love $\endgroup$
    – Guy Coder
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 11:38

1 Answer 1


If I had to bet, I'd say:

Great Papers in Computer Science

Author: Laplante, Phillip A.

Publisher: West Publishing Co.

(this one or an older edition).


  • Algorithms and Data Structures

    • 1.1 The Complexity of Theorem Proving Procedures (Stephen A. Cook)
    • 1.2 On the Conceptual Complexity of Algorithms (J. Hartmanis, R. E. Stearns)
    • 1.3 Quicksort (C. A. R. Hoare)
    • 1.4 Finite Automata and Their Decision Problems (M. O. Rabin, D. Scott)
  • Programming Languages

    • 2.1 The FORTRAN Automatic Coding System (J. W. Backus, et al.)
    • 2.2 An Axiomatic Basis for Computer Programming (C. A. R. Hoare)
    • 2.3 An Axiomatic Definition of the Programming Language Pascal (C. A. R. Hoare, N. Wirth)
    • 2.4 The Contour Model of Block Structured Processes (John B. Johnston)
    • 2.5 On the Translation of Languages from Left to Right (Donald E. Knuth)
    • 2.6 Revised Report on the Algorithmic Language ALGOL 60 (Peter Naur, et al.)
  • Architecture

    • 3.1 First Draft of a Report on the EFVAC (John von Neumann)
    • 3.2 A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits (Claude E. Shannon)
    • 3.3 Alto: A Personal Computer (C. P. Thacker, E. M. McCreight, B. W. Lampson, R. F. Sproull, D. R Boggs)
    • 3.4 The Best Way to Design an Automatic Calculating Machine (M. V. Wilkes)
  • Numerical and Scientific Computing

    • 4.1 On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem (A. M. Turing)
    • 4.2 On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem. A Correction (A. M.Turing)
  • Operating Systems

    • 5.1 Cooperating Sequential Processes (Edsger W. Dijkstra)
    • 5.2 Solution of a Problem in Concurrent Process Control (Edsger W. Dijkstra)
    • 5.3 A Formal System for Information Retrieval from Files (David Hsiao, Frank Harary)
  • Software Methodology and Engineering

    • 6.1 No Silver Bullet — Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering (Frederick P. Brooks)
    • 6.2 Guarded Commands, Nondeterminancy, and Formal Derivation of Programs (Edsger W. Dijkstra)
    • 6.3 Go To Statement Considered Harmful (Edsger W. Dijkstra)
    • 6.4 Proof of Correctness of Data Representations (C. A. R. Hoare)
    • 6.5 On the Criteria to be Used in Decomposing Systems into Modules (David L. Parnas)
    • 6.6 A Rational Design Process: How and Why to Fake It (David L. Parnas, Paul C. Clements)
    • 6.7 Global Variables Considered Harmful (W. Wulf, M. Shaw)
  • Databases

    • 7.1 The Theory of Joins in Relational Databases (A. V. Aho, C. Beeri, and J. D. Ullman)
    • 7.2 Organization and Maintenance of Large Ordered Indexes (R. Bayer, E. Mccreight)
    • 7.3 The Entity Relationship Model - Toward A Unified View of Data (Peter Pin-Shan Chen)
    • 7.4 A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks (E. F. Codd)
  • Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

    • 8.1 Steps Toward Artificial Intelligence (Marvin L. Minsky)
    • 8.2 Matter, Mind, and Models (Marvin L. Minsky)
    • 8.3 Fusion, Propagation, and Structuring in Belief Networks (Judea Pearl)
    • 8.4 Computing Machinery and intelligence (A. M.Turing)
  • Human-Computer Communications

    • 9.1 Programming Considered as a Human Activity (Edsger W. Dijkstra)
  • History

    • 10.1 Programming in America in the 1950s - Some Personal Impressions (John Backus)
    • 10.2 The Evolution of Data-Base Management Systems (James P. Fry, Edgar H. Sibley)
    • 10.3 The Evolution of the UNIX Time-Sharing System (Dennis M. Ritchie)

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