Questions tagged [history]

Questions about genesis and development of computer science as a scientific discipline and its applications.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Oldest publication of the lower bound on comparison sort

We all know that the worst case complexity for comparison sort is in $\Omega(n\log(n))$, but who was the first to publish this? Everywhere I look, people have their own proofs but no reference to the ...
1
vote
0answers
9 views

What is the historical origin of the concept of a "clipping path"

Algorithms for clipping lines to a rectangle seem to have been invented by Ivan Sutherland in the late 60s. At some point the rectangle was generalized to an arbitrary polygonal area, and these days ...
7
votes
0answers
41 views

P=NP turns 50. 1971 STOC conference

Stephen Cook presented his seminal paper "The complexity of theorem-proving procedures" at the 1971 STOC (Symposium on Theory of Computing) conference which was held May 3-5, 1971 at Case ...
3
votes
0answers
121 views

What is a good general-knowledge-level title description of Dr. Aho's and Dr. Ullman's body of work for which they were awarded the 2020 Turing Award?

I recently read in the New York Times that my old "Data Structures and Algorithms" class professor Dr. Ullman had received the Turing Award along with Dr. Aho. The article title was "...
2
votes
1answer
56 views

Why is the address-of operator in C/C++ represented with the "&" symbol?

I've started learning C++, and I know a little bit of C. Something that always struck me as somewhat off was that the address-of operator is represented with the seemingly random ampersand (&) ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

How close are current computer technologies in terms of energy efficiency to the Landauer Limit?

I'm trying to figure out how close (in orders of magnitude) current computer technologies are in terms of energy efficiency to the Landauer Limit. However, I'm finding (seemingly) conflicting ...
26
votes
3answers
6k views

Is there any reason why the modulo operator is denoted as %?

I would like to know if there is any reason why many programming languages use the notation % for the modulo operator? It is used in the most "famous" ...
0
votes
0answers
21 views

Operating System that had the convoy effect

I read some things about the convoy effect (or problem), and at one source there was mentioned, that it was "implemented" in "historic" or very old outdated operating systems. I ...
0
votes
0answers
39 views

How did we go from Binary to something like Python?

If there's one thing the pandemic has shown us its that High school Geometry did not save us. I am a high school math teacher and I understand my job and its usefulness only exist in a post scarcity ...
4
votes
1answer
156 views

Origin of "Cookie" in Computing?

"Cookies" are a user-facing computing construct. They are codified in many technical specifications, including the earliest reference in an HTTP spec, RFC 2109, published February 1997. Many ...
2
votes
0answers
34 views

Is the discrepancy in Turing's representation of complete configurations intentional?

On page 235 of Turing's 1936 paper, in the figure marked (C), the illustration appears not to match the description. The description states that space has been made on the left of the scanned symbol, ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

Term for language that abstracts program location?

What is the technical term that describes a programming language that abstracts (or at least largely abstracts) the machine location of programs? I’m thinking here specifically of the evolution of ...
2
votes
0answers
36 views

What was the impact of Impagliazzo's A Personal View of Average Case Complexity?

I'm studying his paper and I was wondering how the community reacted to it. Yes, Average Case Complexity has come a long way since then, but I want to know if it was directly influenced by it.
1
vote
0answers
25 views

Origin of GUI terminology

I'm wondering where the GUI terminology like modal dialogue comes from. Who first used these terms? Is there a paper or a book, or was it just sw?
4
votes
2answers
136 views

Origin of using ">" to represent child in a tree

What are the earliest known uses of the "greater than"/"chevron" symbol (>) to denote a parent-child relationship in a tree structure? i.e. parent > child e.g. ...
0
votes
3answers
763 views

Why the 127 encodings of ASCII needed to be extended to 256?

As you all know the ASCII chart needed to be extended from 127 encoding to 256, I can't really see why. Some google expert on Coursera said "We needed that because of the foreign languages". I still ...
53
votes
1answer
11k views

What is the earliest use of the "this" keyword in any programming language?

I understand the this (or self or Me) is used to refer to the current object, and that it is ...
2
votes
0answers
57 views

What is the first programming language where the keyword "new" appeared?

It's really interesting when this keyword first appeared as a lot of popular languages but relatively old languages( C++, C#, Java, JS ) use it. I understand use of "new" in C++ in practical manner( ...
2
votes
0answers
27 views

Similarities between Babbage's difference engine and the Turing machine

What would you consider similarities between the difference engine and the Turing machine? At this point I feel I know how they both function, yet I can't point out any worthwhile similarities between ...
0
votes
1answer
213 views

Who invented the adder, full-adder, half-adder?

I didn't find, in the digital design books, who invented the adders. The same person invented the half-adder and the full-adder? What's the oldest publication on digital arithmetic design?
2
votes
0answers
21 views

When did our current concepts of program modularity develop?

I take it that the concept of a modular subroutine call/return existed prior to the concept of a call stack (and hence to the possibility of recursive subroutines or of recursion limits). I would ...
4
votes
1answer
180 views

Why are struct and class essentially the same in C++?

struct and class in C++ are nearly identical (as covered for example here). But why is this so? What did happen when C++ was ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

How many floating point ops were performed worldwide over a time interval [closed]

I am looking for information regarding the evolution of computing capability. Specifically I would like to know how many floating point operations were performed worldwide from, say, the deployment of ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

Lambda Calculus as a branch of set theory

This answer to a question about whether C is the mother of all languages contained an interesting tidbit that I am curious about: The functional paradigm, for example, was developed mathematically (...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

Design considerations of datatypes in early programming languages like C

Although type theory originated (e.g. already discussed by Russell in 1910s) much earlier than programming languages, I have this feeling that languages such as C considered type-checking from a very ...
1
vote
0answers
426 views

Four Pillars of Object Oriented Programming

I'm researching object oriented programming and I've come across the term "four pillars of OOP" in a few places now. I originally saw them listed as: Abstraction Encapsulation Inheritance ...
1
vote
0answers
95 views

Is McCarthy Formalism first ever formalism for defining functions recursively in computer science?

McCarthy formalism is a formalism for defining functions recursively, first introduced in classic paper Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and Their Computation by Machine, Part I (1960). ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

Origin of a story about a computer in the 50's recommending offing Pensioners [closed]

There's a story I've heard a few times in various computer science talks, usually offered as a cautionary tale, that goes something like this: In the late 50s, the British gov't purchased an early ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

Interpretation of Turing's statement on universal computers

I'm currently reading a book about artificial intelligence and i frequently come across the concept of universal computers, as it is essential to understand the book i would like to know the meaning ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Reason programming language B was named "B"?

I’ve searched around for this already but ironically the results have been overshadowed by “Why C was named C” instead. If C was named “C” because it came after B, why was B named "B", since the only ...
7
votes
1answer
592 views

Who first introduced the pushdown automaton?

I'm interested in learning more about the history of automata theory and have tracked down many of the original papers on Turing machines, finite automata, and the like. However, I'm having trouble ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

How the concept of computer change over time? [closed]

There was a time when a "computer" was a person who worked on accounts. However, machines were introduced and this profession eventually died out over time. The definition below was taken ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Did Date and Darwen's "Third Manifesto" have a lasting impact?

In 1995, two DB theory researchers, C.J. Date and H. Darwen, published a text with the rather impressive-sounding name "The Third Manifesto" with their ideas regarding future DBMSes, which would ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Problems with decidability open (for a long time) proven decidable

It seems to me that problems whose dedicability remains open for a long time, if resolved, tend to end up being undecidable. A prominent example would be (e.g.) Hilbert's tenth problem, whose ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

liskov substitution principle seems to have two conventional meanings

This is a question about the semantics of the name, rather than about the principle itself. What is the Liskov Substitution Principle (LSP)? LSP seems to have two meanings in the literature I've ...
4
votes
1answer
255 views

What was Robert Floyd's algorithm for inserting brackets?

In page 71 of Mathematics for Computer Science (page 77 in the pdf) it says that "The Turing award (the “Nobel Prize” of computer science) was ultimately bestowed on Robert Floyd, for, among other ...
5
votes
0answers
87 views

Which languages, if any, implemented parametric polymorphism before ML?

In particular, was there any kind of implementation at the time Christopher Strachey wrote Fundamental Concepts in Programming Languages? In that work, Strachey lists Ad Hoc and Parametric ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Why strokes are treated differently than fills in modern graphics pipelines

This article shows some of the issues. But basically, on the web, you have fillStyle and strokeStyle, and in WebGL you have ...
3
votes
2answers
405 views

Machine code and punched cards

I have been looking into the history of programming, and everybody and their grandmothers begin the subject with a claim more or less similar to the following: At first, programmers used machine ...
1
vote
1answer
189 views

Famous hacker koan: who was it about, though?

Read this many years ago and can't remember who it was about. Nor can I remember the exact quote. The story goes: Famous computer scientist/professor is teaching a class. Student is having some ...
0
votes
0answers
179 views

How did the first computer model display text? [duplicate]

I have a question ive not been able to explain, and I still cant find the answer looking through computer history. I want to know how the first letters were programmed into the first computer. Let me ...
2
votes
0answers
48 views

Literature similar to Minsky's "Steps Toward Artificial Intelligence" (1961)?

With great pleasure I was just reviewing Marvin Minsky's publication "Steps Toward Artificial Intelligence" from 1961. Now I would like to know whether there are any more compilations about the ...
1
vote
0answers
67 views

Combining Computer Science and Humanities

I currently hold a bachelors in Computer science and a masters in Art History. I really want to combine the two and I know of Digital Humanities but I'm not completely aware of where Digital Humanists ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the origin of dot notation?

In object-oriented programming, dot notation is used when accessing the properties or methods of a class: ...
3
votes
0answers
90 views

Was there a phase in Machine Learning timeline when researchers thought some Neural Networks could not be trained?

I was talking to a professor who made a comment to my question. Me: So much of quality literature around this topic ( IP Protection for Neural Weights) emanated in 1990-1991, I'm truly at loss ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Why call it 'Time Complexity'?

P.S. I have added the tag 'history', if there is any historical connotation. Also, I found this question What is running time of an algorithm? but I am not satisfied with answers.
3
votes
2answers
263 views

How Babbage's Analytic engine made calculations of unlimited extent?

Brian Randell, in his article The COLOSSUS, explains how computing ushered in the 20th Century, by the development of the Colossus computer. He cites a passage from the Passages from the Life of a ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

Why pointer dereference was once called "decrement"?

I'm reading McCarthy's paper Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions And Their Computation by Machine, where when the author describes the machine implementation of lists, he writes this: a. ...
2
votes
1answer
158 views

Is what the all-zeroes instruction does considered in machine instruction design?

I remember using a simulated machine with with a minimal instruction set in university. In particular I remember that the instruction that consisted of all zeroes loaded was a ...
0
votes
2answers
55 views

Do Core Computer Programs Have To Function By Powers Of 2? [closed]

As an example, the sRGB Gamut is 256 x 256 x 256 (all powers of 2). I'm aware that computers are generally binary. However, is it simply a matter of simplicity that sRGB was made this way, or was it ...