The Edsger W. Dijkstra Memorial Lecture - Sponsored by Schlumberger - Sir Tony Hoare/Emeritus Professor at Oxford and Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, England: "What can we learn from Edsger W. Dijkstra?" ACES 2.302, 4:00 p.m.

Contact Name: 
Jenna Whitney
Oct 12, 2010 4:00pm - 5:30pm

There is a sign-up schedule for this event that can be found


This lecture series is made possible by a generous grant fro

m Schlumberger to honor the memory of Edsger W. Dijkstra.

Type of T

alk: The Edsger W. Dijkstra Memorial

Lecture Speaker/Affiliation: S

ir Tony Hoare/Emeritus Professor at Oxford and Principal Researcher at Micr

osoft Research in Cambridge, England

Date/Time: Tuesday, October

12, 2010, 4:00 p.m. Location: ACES 2.302 Host: The Department of Comput

er Science Talk Title: What can we learn from Edsger W. Dijkstra?

Talk Abstract:

This is what I have learnt from Edsger:

1. Computing Science is a branch of pure science. Computer Programs are

its subject of study. Researchers seek understanding of the relationship be

tween the interior structure and content of the program and its externally

observed properties and behaviour. Like other branches of science, such b

asic research is best pursued independent of possible application, for the
satisfaction of scientific curiosity.

2. Software Engineering is t

he large-scale application of logic. Logical reasoning provides the means

for a rational process of design and development of programs, together wit

h their proof of correctness. Like other branches of engineering, it seeks
economy, efficiency and reliability in meeting the wishes of its customer

s. By exploiting the underlying science, there is no longer need to rely s

olely on trial and error.

3. Computing Science has learnt much from
mathematics and from philosophy: one day this debt will be repaid. Then i

t will be clear that "In their capacity as a tool, computers will be
but a ripple on the surface of our culture. In their capacity as intellect

ual challenge, they are without precedent in the cultural history of manki


I will comment on these lessons from my own experience a

nd in my own words.

Speaker Bio:

Tony Hoare was a student of
Latin and Greek Language and Literature. He graduated from Oxford Universi

ty in 1956 with a Master''s degree; his studies also included Ancient Hist

ory and Philosophy, which was his favourite subject. His first employment
was with a computer manufacturer, for whom he led the implementation of t

he second commercial implementation of ALGOL 60 (delivered after Dijkstra''

s first implementation). In April 1961 he attended a week''s school on ALG

OL 60 at which Dijkstra was an instructor; and later they served together

as members of IFIP WG2.3, a Working Group charged with the further develop

ment of ALGOL. In 1968, he was appointed a Professor of Computing Science
at the Queen''s University Belfast, where he chose as his lifelong resear

ch goal Dijkstra''s ideal of programs that are correct by construction. In
pursuit of this goal, Dijkstra has been a constant collaborator and a per

sonal friend.