Questions tagged [history]

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

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38 views

What is the origin of state concept?

On a Turing machine, the state changes during the execution of the program. Von Neumann architecture implements this machine theory and typical computer hardware uses Von Neumann architecture. ...
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What is the origin of λ for empty string?

I usually use the symbol $\varepsilon$ for empty string (empty word or null string). But I know some people use $\lambda$ instead of $\varepsilon$. I think $\varepsilon$ is derived from the word "...
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sorting numbers on Babbage's analytic engine

I read that Babbage analytic engine is Turing complete. I wonder, how could I sort array of numbers on it? Imagine that I have numbers in storage and I want to sort them. How can I do that? The ...
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Book about the whole operation of the computers

I was wondering, If there is a book about whole operation of a Computer. I mean since the operation of software, programming languages (high and low level) and drivers until the deep physics ...
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Evolutionary theory applied to programming languages

I'm looking for books applying evolutionary theory to the history of programming languages. Researching the topic I have found an interesting paper - Modelling the Evolution of Programming Languages ...
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Why did the Mathematica Language choose term rewriting instead of the Lambda Calculus as its basis? [closed]

Now we can see that Church was associated with the Simply Typed Lambda Calculus. Indeed, it seems he explained the Simply Typed Lambda Calculus in order to reduce misunderstanding about the Lambda ...
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When was manual dynamic memory managment introduced?

Original Fortran only had static memory. Algol introduced stack allocation. Lisp had Garbage Collection. But when where manual dynamic memory management such as in C introduced. In C memory can be ...
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1answer
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Origin of the concept of types

About the state of art that I'm running ahead of Type Theory I have the these questions all related about history of Types. Where did the idea of Type come from? (It seems that all start when ...
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227 views

How did early computers handle variable word length?

So quoting from the book: A History of Modern Computing (History of Computing) The introduction of reliable core memory made it practical to fetch data in sets of bits, rather than one bit at a ...
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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?...
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How did 'Isabelle' (the theorem prover) get its name?

The title says it all, but I'm curious because it isn't obvious how a theorem prover came to be named 'Isabelle'. Was it named for a person? I couldn't find out by some Google searches.
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Why did RSA encryption become popular for key exchange?

This is a soft question. I don't know a lot about cryptography or its history, but it seems like a common use for RSA is to do key exchange by encrypting a symmetric key to send a longer message (e.g....
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145 views

How did each class of languages receive their name?

If we look at the Chomsky hierarchy, we see that there are four well-known classes of languages: regular languages, context-free languages, context-sensitive languages, and recursively enumerable ...
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When and where did Remote Rendering Systems originate?

Remote rendering is system in which a server (on the cloud, usually) is performing rendering tasks (such as running a video game) and sends the rendering results to a remotely connected, thin device --...
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What is the origin of using Q to denote a set of states in an automaton?

When talking about DFAs and NFAs as 5-tuples, it's common to use the letter $Q$ to denote the set of states in the automaton and to denote individual states with names like $q_0$, $q_1$, etc. Is ...
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378 views

What was the first programming language with loop break?

While tracing the history of the BREAK and CONTINUE statements found in popular languages, I ran into a dead end right around ALGOL. Algol _? -> CPL -> BCPL -> C -> C++ -> Java -> JavaScript What ...
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Why are computable functions also called recursive functions?

In computability theory, computable functions are also called recursive functions. At least at first sight, they do not have anything in common with what you call "recursive" in day-to-day programming ...
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What is the earliest use of “trees” in computer science?

I have a little history question, namely, as the title says, I am looking for early uses of trees (as a data structure, search tree, whatever) in computer science.
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Which commercial company was the earliest adopter of Linux? [closed]

I tried reading some articles and even watched Revolution OS, but was unable to come to a conclusion. Thought this would be a better place to get the answer. From my gathered information: It is ...
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1answer
81 views

Does the concept of the array pre-date physical computer memory implementations?

Does the concept of the array (a sequence of equally-sized elements accessible in O(1) time, occupying O(n) space) pre-date physical computer memory implementations? I am trying to gauge whether ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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Mailing list history [closed]

in these days I'm doing research about the history of the mailing lists. Someone can suggest me interesting "Papers" or Article on the web in order to learn much about history and principal use of ...
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60 views

What does Djikstra mean by “formal techniques” in this essay?

In this essay (and others) by Djikstra, he refers to "formal techniques" a number of times. ... for the computing scientist, formal techniques would play a much more important rôle than they had ...
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888 views

Official Name for the “First” Programming Language Developed by Turing?

As is widely known, Alan Turing discovered/invented the Turing Machine in his classic 1936 paper. Here he also gave how these machines are specified in terms of their machine states and instructions ...
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When did polynomial-time algorithm become of interest?

I would like to understand why and when polynomial algorithms became of interest. When did people realize the role and importance of efficient versus non-efficient algorithms? Did that happen when ...
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Why is binary search called binary search?

I heard several possible explanations, so I would like some trustable reference. Update 05.19: I'm interested in the question because one of mine students wrote in his thesis that the name comes from ...
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How was the ALU implemented in the first computer (i.e., Babbage's analytical engine)?

I've seen circuit level implementations of ALU's before, but how are NOT/AND/ADD performed mechanically?
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Did 'Eugene Goostman' really pass the Turing test?

It is being said that 'Eugene Goostman', a computer programme developed to simulate a 13-year-old boy, managed to convince 33 per cent of the judges that it was human, and thus passed the Turing Test. ...
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Richard Karp's 21 NP-Hard problems, the meaning of his research?

In Richard Karp's paper "Reducability among combinatorial problems" he lists 21 NP-Hard problems. Though I can somewhat understand the ideas and motivation behind the paper I am searching for some ...
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51 views

When did idea of document file format or markup language first appear?

I'm not necessarily asking for the first well-formed definition of some markup language, nor the first implementation of parser for one such language. What I'd like to know is when did people first ...
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2answers
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Where can I find a high quality copy of Turing's On Computable Numbers?

Currently, I'm reading a photocopied version of Turing's famous article On Computable Numbers, With an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem. This is the best photocopy of his paper that I can find;...
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Who coined the term “machine learning”?

I'm trying to figure out who coined the term "machine learning". An ancillary question is from where is Arthur Samuel cited as defining the field of "machine learning" in 1959 as: the field of ...
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326 views

Who coined the term “artificial intelligence”?

The most obvious (and commonly given) answer to this question is John McCarthy, but I have traced the first usage of this term to a 1955 paper, which McCarthy co-authored with Marvin Minsky, Nathaniel ...
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Etymology of time and space “complexity”

The word choice of "complexity" in analysis of algorithms to describe temporal and spatial resource requirements has always struct me as an odd one. These are certainly useful and meaningful concepts. ...
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322 views

Why does binary search take $O(\log n)$ time?

My question seems like an elementary question, but it's really not. Suppose I have one million cars in a line sorted in alphabetical order by license plate. I am standing at the top of the line with ...
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90 views

from when do we have the field of computer vision? [closed]

when was the field of computer vision created and what are the disciplines that gave birth to it? I would appreciate it if you could give some web references that have the answer.
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Why was Alan Turing important? [closed]

What is the importance of Alan Turing? What were his inventions or innovations and why are they so influential?
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What happened to Active Databases?

When reading the literature on declarative programming technology. A particular technology that sounded promising is active databases. It essentially allows the programmer to specify rules about data ...
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What is the definition of Computer Science, and what is the Science within Computer Science?

I am pursuing a BS in Computer Science, but I am at an early point of it, and I am pretty sure I will be happy with my choice given that it seems like an academically and career flexible education to ...
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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 ...
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552 views

Who are the legislators of Paxos?

In the seminal distributed systems paper The Part Time Parliament (the Paxos protocol), Leslie Lamport names fictional legislators who are involved in the Paxon parliament protocol. According to this ...
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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?
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920 views

Parallel Computing: Past Vs Present

Parallel computing is not new but it is becoming common now a days. This is essentially driven by the need of the users (they need to process more data now) and also because of physical limitations on ...
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Why is the laplace transform not popular for image processing convolution?

Why is the laplace transform not popular for image processing convolution? Most textbooks only conver the Fourier transforms.
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260 views

Why the name Recursively Enumerable and Recursive? [duplicate]

Why did the sets of languages accepted/decided by a TM get the name Recursively Enumerable and Recursive, respectively?
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121 views

Origin of theta-joins

I've taken an introductory database course where like many good database courses, they taught relational algebra, including $\theta$-joins. However, I've recently read E. F. Codd's 1970 paper, A ...
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How are programming languages and foundations of mathematics related?

Basically I am aware of three foundations for math Set theory Type theory Category theory So in what ways are programming languages and foundations of mathematics related? EDIT The original ...
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344 views

Understanding Dijkstra's notation $f.x.y$

I recently discovered that I have a fondness for the work of Dijkstra. I am currently reading random EWDs, and stumbled across one with some notation that I couldn't quite grasp. Dijkstra states that ...
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1answer
160 views

Where did the terms memory pool and memory leak come from?

I wonder where those terms came from. Is it computer science related? Or are they related to civil engineering, or swimming sports? Is it some analogy with filling water in a pool, or something ...
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Importance of recursion in computability theory

It is said that computability theory is also called recursion theory. Why is it called like that? Why recursion has this much importance?