diaries

The peer group

Dated: 

15 March 1981

Though Dijkstra's own research publications were cited a lot, he himself did not want to judge the quality of one's work in terms of number of citations, nor in terms of number of papers.

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Trip to Warwick, IFIP WG 2.3

Dated: 

16 March - 15 April, 1971

Dijkstra wrote a report in Dutch about his trip to Warwick (England), which took place right before Easter, 1971. The purpose of his trip was to attend an IFIP Working Group 2.3 meeting at Warwick University. Some points in Dijkstra's trip report are of general interest:

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Letter from Wirth to Dijkstra

Dated: 

19 March 1971

Wirth and Dijkstra were close colleagues, thoroughly studying each other's writings in 1971. But how close, exactly, were they? How did Wirth's views differ from those of Dijkstra? In my first attempt to address these matters, I shall discuss a letter Wirth sent to Dijkstra in March 1971.

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Massaging the program

Dated: 

8 February 1981

Given a specific function, called lambo, how do you prove that it is equal to its own inverse? Dijkstra's answer: by massaging a program that computes lambo. That is, by gradually transforming an original program that computes lambo into a symmetric program that is rather useless to the programmer but useful to the mathematician!

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Morbid preoccupation with "specification languages"

Dated: 

17-31 January 1981

Dijkstra went on a trip to California, visiting universities and research centers. While doing so, he got annoyed by the many researchers who viewed the difficulties underlying multi-person software projects as "communication problems" and who, therefore, advocated new specification languages.

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Presentations versus Lectures

Dated: 

7-12 January 1981

On the basis of an IFIP WG 2.3 meeting in Han-sur-Lesse (Belgium), Dijkstra expressed his misgivings about the overhead projector. He preferred the blackboard much more and the interaction it required between him and the audience. That is, he preferred to give "lectures", not "presentations". Instead of preparing everything in advance, he wanted room to improvise during his lectures.

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