Questions tagged [history]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
2
votes
0answers
32 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
16 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
26 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.
0
votes
1answer
104 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?
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
134 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. ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How did it happen that Algol 60 was an improvement on its successors?

The original statement referred to by this question is: The more I ponder the principles of language design, and the techniques which put them into practice, the more is my amazement and admiration ...
52
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 ...
0
votes
3answers
552 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
178 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
52 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( ...
1
vote
1answer
150 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
20 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 ...
99
votes
5answers
15k views

How not to solve P=NP?

There are lots of attempts at proving either $\mathsf{P} = \mathsf{NP} $ or $\mathsf{P} \neq \mathsf{NP}$, and naturally many people think about the question, having ideas for proving either direction....
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
156 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
177 views

Dennis Ritchie citation for “the C declarator syntax is an experiment that failed”?

I've often heard that the C declarator syntax described as "an experiment that failed." I've seen claims that this sentiment is also shared by its creator Dennis Ritchie. Does anybody have an actual ...
3
votes
2answers
260 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
3answers
12k views

What is the difference between Babbage's analytical and difference engine?

What is the difference between Babbage's analytical and difference engine? Can they even be compared?
13
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the origin of the client server model?

I was wondering if someone knew the origin of the client server model. Where does the term come from (paper, software application, book)?
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
396 views

Random Access Machines with only addition, multiplication, equality

The literature is fairly clear that unit-cost RAMs with primitive multiplication are unreasonable, in that they cannot be simulated by Turing machines in polynomial time can solve PSPACE-complete ...
3
votes
1answer
87 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
39 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
284 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 ...
29
votes
7answers
86k views

Why do we need assembly language?

We mostly write programme in high level language. So while studying I came across assembly language. So an assembler converts assembly language to machine language and a compiler does the same with ...
1
vote
0answers
63 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
40 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
31 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
367 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
53 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
57 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
209 views

The origin and the meaning of “Abstract Syntax Tree”

This question is closely related to Does an abstract syntax tree have to be a tree? and is partially answered there, but I would like to be more precise and to have more concise answers. What is the ...
1
vote
1answer
41 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
66 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
76 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
36 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
278 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 ...
31
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is a regular language called 'regular'?

I have just completed the first chapter of the Introduction to the Theory of Computation by Michael Sipser which explains the basics of finite automata. He defines a regular language as anything ...
0
votes
0answers
60 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
97 views

Where did our present regex notation originate?

First question, and my apologies if it is off-topic! This question suggests to me I may not be totally off-base. Where did our present regex notation originate? I am particularly wondering how <...
2
votes
0answers
46 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
64 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
1k 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
84 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
1k 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
1answer
60 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. ...
76
votes
2answers
8k views

What does the “Lambda” in “Lambda calculus” stand for?

I've been reading about Lambda calculus recently but strangely I can't find an explanation for why it is called "Lambda" or where the expression comes from. Can anyone explain the origins of the term?...
2
votes
1answer
88 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 ...