Thursday, May 21, 2009

Future of Computing

Some quotes from The Future of Computing: Logic or Biology, by Leslie Lamport.

  • Computers interact with users through metaphors. Metaphors are not based on logic, but they are not illogical. Metaphor and logic are not opposites. They are complementary. A good program must use good metaphors, and it must behave logically. The metaphors must be applied consistently—and that means logically.
  • Floyd and Hoare pointed the way by showing how mathematics could be applied to tiny programs. We need to learn how to extend what they did to the real world of large programs.

    Extending what they did does not mean trying to mathematically prove the correctness of million-line programs. It means learning how to apply the idea of a program as a mathematical object to the task of building large programs that we can understand, and that do what we intend them to do.
  • In addition to the task of learning how to apply mathematics to large systems, we also face the task of teaching programmers and designers to think logically. They must learn how to think about programs as mathematical objects. They must learn to think logically. We will not have understandable programs as long as our universities produce generation after generation of people who, like my former colleagues, cannot understand that programs are different from automobiles.

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