Sunday, September 22, 2019

Freethinking and free inquiry about software creation

I very much enjoy computer programming. I also enjoy reading authors that talk about it from diverse perspectives. Just as much as practicing philosophy and reading whoever author that talks about philosophy —taken as the basic human impulse to go deeper into what causes doubt and wonder.

So far, I would say that some mechanical and tedious tasks related to computer programming are no longer a major challenge because we now have a lot of good tools helping with those tasks. On the other hand, the intellectual challenge of computer programming remains as a major challenge even today. Of course, now many good lessons are at reach, lessons from thought and experience of the last seven decades. But the intellectual challenge of non-trivial software endeavors remains in the category of major intellectual challenges.

Freethinking and free inquiry about the historical development of software creation is still worthwhile: which theses –or which aspects of them–by original authors are still current? How far I am able to articulate now those main theses of the field?

«At the time I was being groomed to become a very good theoretical physicist, but in 1955 that training was aborted when I decided to become a programmer instead. Not suffering from excessive modesty, I had what I considered a very good reason: I had concluded that programming presented a greater challenge than theoretical physics.»

Under the spell of Leibniz's Dream. Prof.dr Edsger W.Dijkstra.

«I felt that my problems as a programmer were for a large portion beyond the scope of what Polya covered. At first I hesitated to say so aloud, because stressing the exceptional nature of the one's field is usually a sure way of making oneself utterly ridiculous. But after careful consideration I concluded that the intellectual challenge presented by the programming task is, indeed, as unprecedented as the high-speed automatic computer itself.»

"Craftsman or Scientist?" prof.dr.Edsger W.Dijkstra.

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