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#1 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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RIP Jean Sammet

Posted 04 June 2017 - 10:40 PM


The giants of the field continue to fall. Jean Sammet started programming when the field was still being invented by women, and became both a language designer and a historian of languages. Her Programming Languages: History and Fundamentals - which omits C, because C did not yet exist when she wrote it - was a foundational text in the study of programming languages and also showed an almost frightening grasp of the Babel that existed in the late 1960s, before the wave of simplification that led to the relatively straightforward situation we enjoy today.

The other amazing thing about the book is that she started it around the same time that Knuth started his text on algorithms. Hers was published in 1969, Knuth's is still in progress. I sometimes wonder what Knuth might have managed to do if he'd had a little more of Sammet's "git 'er done" mentality...

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