Frasi di Edsger Dijkstra

Edsger Dijkstra photo
4   2

Edsger Dijkstra

Data di nascita: 11. Maggio 1930
Data di morte: 6. Agosto 2002

Edsger Wybe Dijkstra è stato un informatico olandese.

Frasi Edsger Dijkstra

„La semplicità è un prerequisito per l'affidabilità.“

—  Edsger Dijkstra

da How do we tell truths that might hurt? http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/transcriptions/EWD04xx/EWD498.html, 1975

„How do we convince people that in programming simplicity and clarity —in short: what mathematicians call "elegance"“

—  Edsger W. Dijkstra

are not a dispensable luxury, but a crucial matter that decides between success and failure?
1980s
Origine: EWD648.

„A programmer? But was that a respectable profession? For after all, what was programming? Where was the sound body of knowledge that could support it as an intellectually respectable discipline? I remember quite vividly how I envied my hardware colleagues, who, when asked about their professional competence, could at least point out that they knew everything about vacuum tubes, amplifiers and the rest, whereas I felt that, when faced with that question, I would stand empty-handed.“

—  Edsger W. Dijkstra

Dijkstra (1972) The Humble Programmer http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/transcriptions/EWD03xx/EWD340.html (EWD340).
1970s
Contesto: After having programmed for some three years, I had a discussion with A. van Wijngaarden, who was then my boss at the Mathematical Center in Amsterdam, a discussion for which I shall remain grateful to him as long as I live. The point was that I was supposed to study theoretical physics at the University of Leiden simultaneously, and as I found the two activities harder and harder to combine, I had to make up my mind, either to stop programming and become a real, respectable theoretical physicist, or to carry my study of physics to a formal completion only, with a minimum of effort, and to become....., yes what? A programmer? But was that a respectable profession? For after all, what was programming? Where was the sound body of knowledge that could support it as an intellectually respectable discipline? I remember quite vividly how I envied my hardware colleagues, who, when asked about their professional competence, could at least point out that they knew everything about vacuum tubes, amplifiers and the rest, whereas I felt that, when faced with that question, I would stand empty-handed. Full of misgivings I knocked on van Wijngaarden’s office door, asking him whether I could “speak to him for a moment”; when I left his office a number of hours later, I was another person. For after having listened to my problems patiently, he agreed that up till that moment there was not much of a programming discipline, but then he went on to explain quietly that automatic computers were here to stay, that we were just at the beginning and could not I be one of the persons called to make programming a respectable discipline in the years to come? This was a turning point in my life and I completed my study of physics formally as quickly as I could. One moral of the above story is, of course, that we must be very careful when we give advice to younger people; sometimes they follow it!

„As a result, the topic became – primarily in the USA – prematurely known as ‘computer science’ – which, actually, is like referring to surgery as ‘knife science’ – and it was firmly implanted in people’s minds that computing science is about machines and their peripheral equipment. Quod non“

—  Edsger W. Dijkstra

Dijkstra (1986) On a cultural gap http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/transcriptions/EWD09xx/EWD924.html (EWD 924).
1980s
Contesto: A confusion of even longer standing came from the fact that the unprepared included the electronic engineers that were supposed to design, build and maintain the machines. The job was actually beyond the electronic technology of the day, and, as a result, the question of how to get and keep the physical equipment more or less in working condition became in the early days the all-overriding concern. As a result, the topic became – primarily in the USA – prematurely known as ‘computer science’ – which, actually, is like referring to surgery as ‘knife science’ – and it was firmly implanted in people’s minds that computing science is about machines and their peripheral equipment. Quod non [Latin: "Which is not true"]. We now know that electronic technology has no more to contribute to computing than the physical equipment. We now know that programmable computer is no more and no less than an extremely handy device for realizing any conceivable mechanism without changing a single wire, and that the core challenge for computing science is hence a conceptual one, viz., what (abstract) mechanisms we can conceive without getting lost in the complexities of our own making.

„Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never to show their absence!“

—  Edsger W. Dijkstra

Dijkstra (1970) " Notes On Structured Programming http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/ewd02xx/EWD249.PDF" (EWD249), Section 3 ("On The Reliability of Mechanisms"), corollary at the end.
1970s
Variante: Program testing can be a very effective way to show the presence of bugs, but it is hopelessly inadequate for showing their absence.

„The question of whether Machines Can Think… is about as relevant as the question of whether Submarines Can Swim.“

—  Edsger W. Dijkstra

Dijkstra (1984) The threats to computing science http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/transcriptions/EWD08xx/EWD898.html (EWD898).
1980s

„It is not the task of the University to offer what society asks for, but to give what society needs.“

—  Edsger W. Dijkstra

Dijkstra (2000), "Answers to questions from students of Software Engineering" http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~EWD/ewd13xx/EWD1305.PDF (EWD 1305).
2000s

„Thank goodness we don't have only serious problems, but ridiculous ones as well.“

—  Edsger W. Dijkstra

Dijkstra (1982) "A Letter to My Old Friend Jonathan" (EWD475) p. 101 in [Dijkstra, Edsger, Selected Writings on Computing, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1982, 9780387906522]
1980s

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