programming languages

CS Table, Friday, 16 October 2009: Language Humor

It's the day before break. We know that people won't be up for a deep discussion. Hence, CS Table this coming Friday, we are going to consider a classic bit of language humor: "How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot" (in your favorite programming language). Because it's a classic bit of CS humor, it has spawned many extensions and variants since its original publication in 1991. We'll work with a fairly nice extension (described below), but you can also search for other versions.

Stepney, Susan (ed). (n.d.). How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot. Web resource at http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/susan/joke/foot.htm. One of the more extensive of the many variants of an article from the December 1991 issue of Developer's Insight.

Grinnell College's CS Table is a weekly gathering of folks on campus (students, faculty, staff, alums, etc.) to talk about issues relating to computer science. CS Table meets each Friday at noon in JRC 224A, the Day Public Dining Room (PDR) in the Joe Rosenfeld '25 Center (JRC). All are welcome, although computer science students and faculty are particularly encouraged to attend.

Friday Extra: "Why so many?"

At noon on Friday, October 2, in Science 3821, Professor David G. Kay will give a presentation entitled Why so many?: A historical view of the early development of programming languages:

Java. Scheme. C++. Python. There are dozens of programming languages in common use today. Each has its adherents -- often highly partisan adherents. High-level programming languages have been available at least since Fortran in 1954; why haven't we agreed on a common language by now? Why is there so much heat (and so little light) when programming languages are compared? We try to answer these questions with a historical look at how and why some of the major programming languages were developed. We find that, as with many technical issues, the ultimate success of a programming language depends as much on social, economic, and historical factors as it does on the technical merits.

Professor Kay teaches in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, where he holds appointments in the departments of Informatics and Computer Science and serves as Vice Chair of Informatics. He has degrees in linguistics, law, and computer science; his current academic interests include computer law, computer science education, software engineering, human-computer interaction, and the teaching of writing and other communication skills.

Pizza and soda will be served before the talk. Everyone is welcome to attend!

This talk also serves as this week's CS Table.

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