Summer school: Marktoberdorf, July 1971


2 August 1971

Roughly 80 participants from 15 countries participated in the 1971 summer school in Marktoberdorf. According to Dijkstra, some participants were very theoretically inclined, others more practically minded. Viewed from the present day, the following list of speakers at that summer school is impressive. Dijkstra attributed a theme to each speaker, with the exception of Perlis and Dahl:

  • Tony Hoare's lectures were on: elements of programming languages
  • Niklaus Wirth: implementation (cf. Pascal compiler)
  • Per Brinch Hansen: operating systems
  • John Reynolds: semantics (cf. Scott's work)
  • Rudolf Bayer: information retrieval
  • Edsger W. Dijkstra: parallel programming
  • Alan J. Perlis
  • Ole-Johan Dahl

From Dijkstra's perspective, the summer school presentations were about consolidation (i.e. unification). Hence, it is not surprising that Perlis and, to a lesser extent, Dahl were not attributed a theme in Dijkstra's list. Concerning Perlis, it is clear that he was not an advocate — to put it gently — of structured programming, correctness proofs, and the like.

Furthermore, Dijkstra mentioned that there clearly were some second-generation researchers who were dissatisfied with not belonging to the "inner circle"; i.e. the group of first-generation programmers that had become famous when the emerging discipline was still easy and exciting. Perhaps Dijkstra was referring to Per Brinch Hansen as one of those who was dissatisfied.

Source: EWD316A