Adios Toronto! Hola San Fransisco!

I’m frantically packing and trying to get out the door having inadvertently bitten off more than I can chew.

Ali just called to say he got me good tickets to London. So, It’s official – I’m going to BAPL in June.

I also just had a fantastic conversation with Arthur Whitney.  Incidentally, his dad indirectly introduced my dad to Ken in the 1960’s, when he was a kid & I was a baby. <- Your APL trivia for the day.

Oh – And I have a lead on Phil Abrams!  I’m one step away from tracking him down!

That’s all for now.

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4 Responses to “Adios Toronto! Hola San Fransisco!”


  • You need to find Alex Morrow. I know some stuff, but he’s the expert.

    Your dad and Breed were friendly and created the two branches of APL thinking about file interactions. Breed went off with his own idea because Ken didn’t like his notation. STSC came out of this. Your Dad created the concept of shared variables, thus APL.SV.

    Sorry I missed you tonight. When do you leave the bay area? Have you seen Jim Brown?

    Charlie Waters

  • You can reach me on my cell at 408-218-4245.

    By the way TSIO did not stand for Time Sharing Input Output. That was the commercial name. It really stood for Tuttle Shively Inout Output, named after its inventors, Joey Tuttle and Chris Shively.

    Hope we can talk sometime.

  • Since this is my third thing on this—I guess I’m just over the top and feeling bad about not getting to meet you this evening. Here’s some of what I was going to share with you.

    Apl\1130 and Apl\360 were closed systems. Users could only store information within what was called the APL workspace. This became limiting because they could not access files – places to share information outside of the closed APL environment with non-APL applications. How to do this became a HUGE issue with Ken Inverson, Adin Falkoff, Larry Breed and your father.

    Breed went for the simple approach – embedding file primitives into the APL notation.

    Your dad had a bigger idea, a generalized mechanism to interact with an environment outside of APL for a variety of services. In his mind, file services were only a small portion of what an outside environment had to offer. Iverson insisted on waiting for your dad to fully develop the idea because he didn’t want to tie APL language primitives into specific services outside of the APL environment. .

    Ken had many arguments about this with Adin, Dick and Larry. Adin backed Ken but Breed didn’t want to wait for Dick to complete his more generalized idea. So he took his file system notation and helped form STSC.

    Your dad’s idea became the Shared Variable concept. A way of interacting with an outside environment without embedding language notations that were tied to any specific environmentally dependent services (like file services) that were offered by the outside environment. BRILLIANT!!!!! In my humble opinion, a breakthrough comparable to the idea of APL itself.

    I don’t know if your dad actually wrote the assembler code for the shared variable portion of APL.SV but I studied it and used the concept to create one of the first shared services environments for applications within a machine and across machines. Simply stated, I ported his concept to work outside of the APL environment, This was probably in 1974.

    As I think back this evening, I think he created the concept of what we are now calling SOA (Services Oriented Architecture) but has been called many things in the past including RPC.

    I believe the impact of APL has gone way beyond just its influence on scientific computation. In the 70’s it was a required course at the Wharton School of Business. I know, I taught it.

    And I also think that your dad’s concept of Shared Variables had a fundamental impact on the way we think of information processing today. And, he also played a great guitar in his day.

    Charlie

  • Arthur’s story…

    You start to see how our lives are woven together, by time, place. Our secret society.

    Look Inside >> 
    February/March 2009
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