Ideas   83547

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Taking a Fence Down
I remember reading somewhere that John F. Kennedy quoted Chesterton as saying something about not taking a fence down until you know the reason why it was put it up. I think the idea was if someone says they don’t understand why something is the way it is and wants to destroy or change it, don’t let them. Any help?
ideas  change 
9 days ago by cogdog
Retrospective: An Axiomatic Basis for Computer Programming
My first job (1960–1968) was in the computer industry; and my first major project was to lead a team that implemented an early compiler for ALGOL 60. Our compiler was directly structured on the syntax of the language, so elegantly and so rigorously formalized as a context-free language. But the semantics of the language was even more important, and that was left informal in the language definition. It occurred to me that an elegant formalization might consist of a collection of axioms, similar to those introduced by Euclid to formalize the science of land measurement. My hope was to find axioms that would be strong enough to enable programmers to discharge their responsibility to write correct and efficient programs. Yet I wanted them to be weak enough to permit a variety of efficient implementation strategies, suited to the particular characteristics of the widely varying hardware architectures prevalent at the time.
programming  ideas 
11 days ago by doneata

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