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Turing Tales

December 2016
249 pages

Even before the advent of Twitter, the wide dissemination of an idea in our Western world required a compact and attractive formulation. Examples in contemporary computer science are:

  • Turing invented the computer.
  • Full formal verification is possible.

Unfortunately, computer scientists promote, and some believe, these over-simplified statements themselves. Technically inaccurate accounts have been written about Turing's purported legacy and about allegedly important topics that carry his name (such as `Turing completeness' and `Turing universality'). Much needed rectifications are provided here for the sake of obtaining conceptual clarity and making computer science a slightly more mature discipline.



Front cover 'Formalism & Intuition in Software Development'

Formalism & Intuition in Software Development

August 2015
97 pages

"One of the difficulties in thinking about software is its huge variety. A function definition in a spreadsheet cell is software. A smartphone app is software. The flight management system for an Airbus A380 is software. A word processor is software. We shouldn't expect a single discipline of software engineering to cover all of these, any more than we expect a single discipline of manufacturing to cover everything from the Airbus A380 to the production of chocolate bars, or a single discipline of social organization to cover everything from the United Nations to a kindergarten. Improvement in software engineering must come bottom-up, from intense specialized attention to particular products."

— Michael A. Jackson

Algorithmic Barriers Falling front-cover

Algorithmic Barriers Falling: P=NP?

November 2014
116 pages

"A prize of $10 from Blum, $10 from Meyer, £4 from Paterson and 30-DM from Schnorr is offered to anyone who first solves the Cook-Karp problem whether P = NP.

Blum bet $100 that P ≠ NP against Paterson's $1 that P = NP."

— SIGACT News, January 1973, page 3.

These playful bets capture youthful optimism in Complexity Theory. Did Donald E. Knuth share this optimism at the time? And how did the findings of complexity theorists interlace with Knuth's pioneering work in the Analysis of Algorithms?

By investigating Knuth's developing thoughts on the theoretical underpinnings of efficient computation, this book sheds light on Knuth's present-day conjecture that P = NP.


The Essential Knuth

August 2013
92 pages

Donald E. Knuth lived two separate lives in the late 1950s. During daylight he ran down the visible and respectable lane of mathematics. During nighttime, he trod the unpaved road of computer programming and compiler writing.

front cover The Dawn of Software Engineering

The Dawn of Software Engineering: from Turing to Dijkstra

April 2012
ISBN 9789491386022
248 pages

"A rich and fascinating account of the time when software engineering was a compelling intellectual discipline at the center of computer science."

— John C. Reynolds, CMU


Barbara Liskov (C) 2010 E.G.Daylight

Barbara Liskov

Niklaus Wirth (C) 2010 E.G.Daylight

Niklaus Wirth


More Conversations

3D cover of Pluralism in Software Engineering

Pluralism in Software Engineering: Turing Award Winner Peter Naur Explains.

October 2011
Edited by E.G. Daylight, K. De Grave, and P. Naur.
127 + iii pages.


Peter Naur (C) 2011 E.G.Daylight

Peter Naur


Panel discussions I & II, held at the Future of Software Engineering Symposium

Panel discussion in November 2010 at ETH, Zurich.
November 2011
Edited by E.G. Daylight and S. Nanz. 
44 + ii pages.

Top researchers debate whether any real progress has been made during the past decades and how to distinguish between good and bad software.