What did Dijkstra do 50 years ago?

Towards The Origins of Computational Complexity

One of my students at Utrecht University reflected during the spring of 2014 on the origins of computational complexity. She has given me permission to publish her beautiful essay here (anonymously).

Her chosen research topic is a difficult one to address. But, by presenting a pluralistic account in which she lets her historical actors tell the story (Cobham, Hartmanis, Rabin, Blum), she has succeeded in conveying technical information to an audience that need not be versed in complexity theory per se.

McKeag's account of T.H.E.

Dijkstra's Rallying Cry for Generalization is pleased to offer to its readers Chapter III of the book Studies in Operating Systems by R. M. McKeag and R. Wilson, edited by D H. R. Huxtable and published in 1976 by Academic Press:

T.H.E. Multiprogramming System (18.6 MiB PDF)
by R. M. McKeag

For personal use only. Republished here with the kind permission of McKeag and Fujitsu Services Ltd.

Computer efficiency

Here is what a reviewer had to say about the research paper `Dijkstra’s Rallying Cry ...':

The paper is, in essence, about an argument of generality versus computer efficiency. The argument was eventually settled in favour of the former due to the enormous advances in electronic technology. Today, computer efficiency is not an issue any more.

Is this correct? The last sentence seems to contradict Martin Reiser’s “law” which states that



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