Are you eager to study the past developments of your field? Do you believe an appreciation for historical developments can help you grasp the problems of tomorrow? Then follow this blog and join me in reliving parts of Edsger W. Dijkstra's life (1930 — 2002).
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From the early 1960s and onwards, Dijkstra expressed his thoughts on paper on a regular basis by writing his now-famous EWD manuscripts. Most of these EWDs are publicly and electronically available from the "E.W. Dijkstra Archive" of the University of Texas. My objective is to extract and discuss interesting fragments from these EWDs. Each of my discussions will appear as a post in one of the following three diaries:
- What did Dijkstra do 50 years ago? Check out my diary of the 1960s.
- What did Dijkstra do 40 years ago? Check out my diary of the 1970s.
- What did Dijkstra do 30 years ago? Check out my diary of the 1980s.
There is more
On 16 and 23 January 2011, I visited the Dijkstra family at Plataanstraat 5 in Nuenen, the Netherlands. With their permission I was allowed to take home with me 16 boxes of Edsger W. Dijkstra's original possessions along with his encyclopedia, typewriter, and tandem bicycle. His possessions, now archived in Leuven, can help us address the following two questions:
- Which books did Dijkstra read, which authors inspired him the most? Check out my collection of his personal books.
- How influential were Dijkstra's writings, i.e. his EWDs? Check out his personal correspondence.
For the complete inventory, please consult:
Furthermore, I will continue to study the work of Dijkstra's contemporaries, visit them if possible, write research papers on Dijkstra's contributions, and visit The Center for American History of the University of Texas at Austin in order to consult the many documents which are not publically available.
Feel free to send me your pictures of Dijkstra so that I can add them to my picture gallery.
I am a researcher in the history of computer science and I am currently working at Siegen University and Lille University. Check out the About page for my credentials and contact info.