jm + rob-pike   5

The power of role models
At dinner I asked some of the women to speak to me about this, how astronomy became so (relatively) egalitarian. And one topic became clear: role models. Astronomy has a long history of women active in the field, going all the way back to Caroline Herschel in the early 19th century. Women have made huge contributions to the field. Dava Sobel just wrote a book about the women who laid the foundations for the discovery of the expansion of the universe. Just a couple of weeks ago, papers ran obituaries of Vera Rubin, the remarkable observational astronomer who discovered the evidence for dark matter. I could mention Jocelyn Bell, whose discovery of pulsars got her advisor a Nobel (sic). The most famous astronomer I met growing up was Helen Hogg, the (adopted) Canadian astronomer at David Dunlap Observatory outside Toronto, who also did a fair bit of what we now call outreach.

The women at the meeting spoke of this, a history of women contributing, of role models to look up to, of proof that women can make major contributions to the field.

What can computing learn from this? It seems we're doing it wrong. The best way to improve the representation of women in the field is not to recruit them, important though that is, but to promote them. To create role models. To push them into positions of influence.
software  women  feminism  role-models  gender-balance  egalitarianism  astronomy  computing  rob-pike 
4 weeks ago by jm
Regexp Disaster
Course notes from Gerald Jay Sussman's "Adventures in Advanced Symbolic Programming" class at MIT. Hard to argue with this:
The syntax of the regular-expression language is awful. There are various incompatable forms of the language and the quotation conventions are baroquen [sic]. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of useful software, for example grep, that uses regular expressions to specify the desired behavior.

Although regular-expression systems are derived from a perfectly good mathematical formalism, the particular choices made by implementers to expand the formalism into useful software systems are often
disastrous: the quotation conventions adopted are highly irregular; the egregious misuse of parentheses, both for grouping and for backward reference, is a miracle to behold. In addition, attempts to
increase the expressive power and address shortcomings of earlier designs have led to a proliferation of incompatible derivative languages.

(via Rob Pike's twitter:
regex  regexps  regular-expressions  functional  combinators  gjs  rob-pike  coding  languages 
july 2016 by jm
Rob Pike's 5 rules of optimization
these are great. I've run into rule #3 ("fancy algorithms are slow when n is small, and n is usually small") several times...
twitter  rob-pike  via:igrigorik  coding  rules  laws  optimization  performance  algorithms  data-structures  aphorisms 
april 2015 by jm
Excellent Rob Pike quote about algorithmic complexity
'Fancy algorithms are slow when n is small, and n is usually small.' -- Rob Pike

Been there, bought the t-shirt ;)
rob-pike  quotes  algorithms  big-o  complexity  coding 
september 2013 by jm
Structural Regular Expressions
'The current UNIX text processing tools are weakened by the built-in concept of a line. There is a simple notation that can describe the `shape' of files when the typical array-of-lines picture is inadequate. That notation is regular expressions. Using regular expressions to describe the structure in addition to the contents of files has interesting applications, and yields elegant methods for dealing with some problems the current tools handle clumsily. When operations using these expressions are composed, the result is reminiscent of shell pipelines.' Paper by Rob Pike, via adulau. intriguing
sregex  via:adulau  regexp  rob-pike  regex  library  text  structural  parsing  from delicious
november 2009 by jm

Copy this bookmark: