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Peter Naur wins ACM Turing Award

 
 
Terry Reedy
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      03-06-2006
http://campus.acm.org/public/pressro..._3_01_2006.cfm

Peter Naur was co-developer of Backus/Naur grammar notation, co-author and
editor of the Algol 60 specification, and co-developer of a successful
Algol compiler.

Connection with Python: I believe Python owes more to the form and spirit
of Algol than to any of the other early languages. Algol introduced the
block structuring and, at least in practice, the indentation, that is a
hallmark of Python. It was purposefully not tied to any particular
architecture. It was "designed for communication among humans as well as
with computers" even though human readability made compiler writing more
challenging.

Python: Algol for the 21st century?

Terry Jan Reedy



 
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Kay Schluehr
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      03-07-2006

Terry Reedy wrote:
> http://campus.acm.org/public/pressro..._3_01_2006.cfm
>
> Peter Naur was co-developer of Backus/Naur grammar notation, co-author and
> editor of the Algol 60 specification, and co-developer of a successful
> Algol compiler.


That's very fine. Peter Naur has to be honored before he dies and Algol
gets forgotten forever. Sarkasm mode off. Is it just me who thinks that
this grand-old-man gala should be cancelled and replaced by a fields
medal mode where the jury has to prove that it is a little more up to
date? Maybe being at age of 50 would be good upper limit ( our
societies grow older This mode would enable to honor Simon Peyton
Jones and Philip Wadler for Haskell and introducing monads to Haskell
before the language is phased out in 20+ years.

 
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Colin J. Williams
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      03-07-2006
Kay Schluehr wrote:
> Terry Reedy wrote:
>
>>http://campus.acm.org/public/pressro..._3_01_2006.cfm
>>
>>Peter Naur was co-developer of Backus/Naur grammar notation, co-author and
>>editor of the Algol 60 specification, and co-developer of a successful
>>Algol compiler.

>
>
> That's very fine. Peter Naur has to be honored before he dies and Algol
> gets forgotten forever. Sarkasm mode off. Is it just me who thinks that
> this grand-old-man gala should be cancelled and replaced by a fields
> medal mode where the jury has to prove that it is a little more up to
> date? Maybe being at age of 50 would be good upper limit ( our
> societies grow older This mode would enable to honor Simon Peyton
> Jones and Philip Wadler for Haskell and introducing monads to Haskell
> before the language is phased out in 20+ years.
>

Without detracting from the last sentence, I disagree.

Peter Naur's honour is long overdue.

Colin W.
 
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Terry Reedy
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      03-07-2006

"Colin J. Williams" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:18fPf.157$(E-Mail Removed)...
>> Terry Reedy wrote:
>>
>>>http://campus.acm.org/public/pressro..._3_01_2006.cfm
>>>
>>>Peter Naur was co-developer of Backus/Naur grammar notation, co-author
>>>and
>>>editor of the Algol 60 specification, and co-developer of a successful
>>>Algol compiler.


> Peter Naur's honour is long overdue.


That was my reaction also, tempered by three observations.

1. I do not have enough detailed knowledge of who invented what when to
judge details of credit allocation.

2. The importance of Algol60 (and the impetus of the award) is not its
usage in the 60s but the dominance of the family of languages it inspired,
including, at least in some important parts, Python. But this has been a
gradual development. So when did the award become 'due', to make it
'overdue' now? (I would say by 1990, at least.)

3. To call it overdue suggests that it should have been awarded before,
*instead of* to someone else. But I am not about to suggest which of the
previous (worthy, I am sure) recipients he should have been instead of .

Nobel's will specificed awards for the most important contribution in the
previous year. The Nobel committees recognized that this is ludicrous in
that recognition of importance can take decades.

Terry Jan Reedy



 
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Kay Schluehr
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      03-07-2006
Colin J. Williams wrote:

> Without detracting from the last sentence, I disagree.
>
> Peter Naur's honour is long overdue.
>
> Colin W.


Sometimes it's hard for me to figure out about what somebody else
disagrees with me in particular when I agree with him.

Is it possible that Peter Naur was forgotten when John Backus received
the Turing Award right in time in 1977?

Kay

 
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James Stroud
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      03-07-2006
Kay Schluehr wrote:
> Colin J. Williams wrote:
>
>
>>Without detracting from the last sentence, I disagree.
>>
>>Peter Naur's honour is long overdue.
>>
>>Colin W.

>
>
> Sometimes it's hard for me to figure out about what somebody else
> disagrees with me in particular when I agree with him.
>
> Is it possible that Peter Naur was forgotten when John Backus received
> the Turing Award right in time in 1977?
>
> Kay
>


If you are going to publish, its important to choose a last name that
starts with a letter at the front of the alphabet, lest you languish
indefinitely in anonymity like Peter Naur.

James

--
James Stroud
UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics
Box 951570
Los Angeles, CA 90095

http://www.jamesstroud.com/
 
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Colin J. Williams
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      03-07-2006
Kay Schluehr wrote:
> Colin J. Williams wrote:
>
>
>>Without detracting from the last sentence, I disagree.
>>
>>Peter Naur's honour is long overdue.
>>
>>Colin W.

>
>
> Sometimes it's hard for me to figure out about what somebody else
> disagrees with me in particular when I agree with him.

Kay,
You wrote:
"That's very fine. Peter Naur has to be honored before he dies and Algol
gets forgotten forever. Sarkasm mode off. Is it just me who thinks that
this grand-old-man gala should be cancelled and replaced by a fields
medal mode where the jury has to prove that it is a little more up to
date? Maybe being at age of 50 would be good upper limit ( our
societies grow older This mode would enable to honor Simon Peyton
Jones and Philip Wadler for Haskell and introducing monads to Haskell
before the language is phased out in 20+ years."

Perhaps I should have been careful to identify what I disagreed with.
>
> Is it possible that Peter Naur was forgotten when John Backus received
> the Turing Award right in time in 1977?
>
> Kay
>

John Backus of IBM made a very different contribution with the
development of the FORTRAN compiler.

The Algol60 Report was more than BNF, although that was an important
component.

Best wishes,

Colin W.
 
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