Warning: Missing argument 1 for WP_Widget::__construct(), called in /home/lathprod/public_html/wordpress/wp-includes/class-wp-widget-factory.php on line 106 and defined in /home/lathprod/public_html/wordpress/wp-includes/class-wp-widget.php on line 175

Warning: Missing argument 2 for WP_Widget::__construct(), called in /home/lathprod/public_html/wordpress/wp-includes/class-wp-widget-factory.php on line 106 and defined in /home/lathprod/public_html/wordpress/wp-includes/class-wp-widget.php on line 175
History | Chasing Men Who Stare at Arrays

Archive for the 'History' Category

APL@50 York University – Nov 1, 2012

Ken Iverson with Jean & Eric Iverson & Roger Hui.
June 11, 1998

Right around the time the Silverman Brothers were wrestling with a clandestine copy of the 1966 APL/360 source code, York University bestowed Dr. Iverson with an honorary degree.

Continuing the tradition at the end of this month,  York, in collaboration with its infant Computer History Museum, will host a day long lecture style event aptly titled APL@50 in celebration of the 50th anniversary which marks the publication of Iverson’s seminal book, A Programming Language.  I hope to see you there.

This is a free event & is open to the public.
November 1, 2012,
Doors open at 9am – 4pm See Shedule

York University, Toronto
Lecture Hall B of the Lassonde Building

Please consult the York University maps for the public transit and driving directions as well as for the location of the Lassonde Building.

 

 

 

 

Share

Posting from Paris on my iPhone

20120526-142639.jpg

I am having a lazy afternoon in Paris playing with my iPhone before venturing out for dinner with the infamous H&M. Lazy afternoon = sorting out how to get photos from my iPhone directly into this blog post, here. Voila! I adore WordPress!

It has be such an exciting week at the International Kx Conference in Dublin, I don’t know where to start with the story.

I brought a special short video divined from my research material and screened it for about 75 people. The piece was warmly received. Thank goodness. I needed the affirmation because I was feeling overwhelmed and a little discouraged. Documentary film is getting cut from all sides in Canada, grants are getting extremely scarce and at the same time tv airtime is going to reality shows. So even if you scrape together a show, there are fewer opportunities to show it. But never mind. I have received a transfusion of enthusiasm and we have cyberspace… So I am back to my cheery dgaf self.

And finally after all these years… I got to meet… Arthur Whitney. Now that was pretty awesome.

Ok. That’s enough 1 finger blogging From my iPhone. (I am blogging from my iPhone!!!!!)

Share

Brooks on Iverson

In October of 2011, Dr Fred Brooks agreed to talk to me about when he and Dr Kenneth E Iverson, the father of APL, shared an office at Harvard University in the 1950s.  So, I went to Chapel Hill in North Carolina, USA to speak with him.

Professor Dr Jan Prins, also from The University of North Carolina, assisted with the interview and he thought it would be interesting to know what it was like for Dr Iverson to receive the Turing award in 1979, 17 years after the publication of A Programming Language.  Here is the answer:

– corrected (Thank you Roger.  Again. )

Share

J, July and Solidarity

I’d like to start today by drawing your attention to what promises to be the APL Array Language Family event of the year – The J Community/Conference 2012 right here in Toronto, this July 23 & 24, 2012.  If you want to rub shoulders with Array Language Rock Stars, this is the conference to attend.

J conference July 23/24, 2012

Eric Iverson 2012

J Conference planning w/ Eric Iverson 2012

Further, 2012 is a special year because it is the 5oth anniversary of the publication of Dr. Kenneth Iverson’s seminal text A Programming Language which ultimately lead to his Turing Award, the “nobel prize of Computing”.  In honour of this important milestone, Eric Iverson and Liz Giddens, the J conference organizer, have asked that I let you know that you are specially invited attend the The J Conference Banquet to celebrate the larger legacy of Ken and his colleagues, even if you choose not to attend the conference. (Note: the early bird ticket price is up now, so I encourage you to get your ticket, while there are still tickets available).

What’s else is happening?

2011 dished out a little more than I could handle but that’s to be expected.  This is, however, why we’ve been so quiet this year on the blog. We’re in the back room, pushing things along quietly…  For example, the interview with Dr. Fred Brooks has been transcribed and the transcriptions are now under review by our subject matter experts.

I also applied for a fellowship grant from the ACM. I didn’t win the fellowship, however the application process connected me with the ACM History group.  And in spite of my extremely awkward and painful debut where I made the biggest public email faux pas I have ever made, the group is warm and welcoming.   Nathan Ensmenger, as one example, is generously sharing some of his articles with me. He has developed an interesting analysis of how computer programming transformed into a male dominated profession, when it didn’t start out this way.   I am writing about this documentary in the context of my own programming career for the ACM-W newsletter which is why I am looking at the research on gender in computing.

As a side note, working on this article is making me miss programming, which is a bit of a surprise.

Nathan Ensmenger also has an interest in film and contributed to Tops Secret Rosies, a documentary film about the women who did the ballistics calculations during WWI and were recruited to program the ENIAC – the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer  in the 1940’2.  This experience gives him a special appreciation of the challenge set before us here with this documentary – how does one visualize an abstract construct like a computer programming language? 

This is just a taste of what’s going on behind the scenes.  Keep the faith. I hope to see everyone in July, if not sooner.

Share

The Origins of APL – 1974

I shared this video on Myspace on July 20, 2009 where it has received 4604 views as of today.

Share

Kenneth E Iverson – Toronto Memorial November 18, 2004

Well, hot dang! Youtube decided I get more time.  They sent me a note last week: Congratulations! You can upload videos longer than 15 mins.  This is GREAT news and I’m celebrating by uploading the synopsis of Ken Iverson’s Toronto memorial service I made back in 2004 when I first fell in love with my video camera.
 

 

Share

Lettow on Brooks honouring the 90th anniversary of KEI’s birth

As they say in rock and roll, “You can’t always get what you want… but you just might find you get what you need…”

When Ken Lettow asked me if he could swing down to North Carolina for my interview with Professor Fred Brooks,  I answered with a resounding and emphatic, “NO!”

You gotta love Ken.  Persistence is his middle name.  He then proceeded to convince me that he would not bring havoc to my film set and in fact, he would make himself useful.  And a short training session later…   I have a  sound engineer and set photographer all in one enthusiastic bundle  of a subject matter expertise.   In short, a much appreciated helping hand.

In honour of the 90th anniversary of Ken Iverson’s birth Ken Lettow sent out a wonderful account of our adventure to North Carolina to the J-Chat forum:

As [KEI and Prof Brooks] developed course material for the class,  Ken began to formalize the notation that came to be known as APL, the “the blackboard version” as Eugene McDonnell once so aptly put it.  Their collaboration ultimately resulted in the publication of two books, Ken Iverson’s “A Programming Language”,  in 1962 and “Automatic Data Processing” by Iverson and Brooks, published in 1963.  They also became lifelong friends during this period.

You can read Ken’s  full text here.  He’s also posted a great set of photos.

Happy holidays everyone.  May the Force be with you always.

Share

It’s APL’s Birthday! Or is it?

Last year we discovered that the first APL workspace was saved November 27, 1966 at 18.53.59. (GMT); the excitement of this momentous event pulling the guys away from home and the American Thanksgiving holiday.  Today we know that this evidence isn’t 100% the truth…  it’s more like 99.7% truth…  According to an eyewitness account from my dad history has been slightly amended… if only by a few seconds!

Should today be APL’s official birthday?

It just so happens that 2012 is the 50th anniversary of the publication of that one little book, “A Programming Language“. THE one little book, that Harvard deemed too small to launch its author, Kenneth E. Iverson into a tenure track position.  Harvard sent Ken packing! It wasn’t until much later that Ken’s work and this one little book was recognized by the world,  winning the Turing Award which is recognized as the “highest distinction in Computer science” and the “Nobel Prize of computing“.

The moral of this story?

Do it right and do it well.  Happy Birthday APL!

 

Many thanks to Rick Procter who reminded me about the significance of 2012 earlier this fall.

 

Share

Country thievery and small arrays

Ken Iverson's copy of ALGOL 68

Klout reminds me this morning that my “influence”  has dropped 50%.  I guess this is what happens when one doesn’t participate in cyberspace these days, you get an automated email: “Hey!  YOU’RE not the cool kid!” Yikes.

The truth is I’m so busy, I can’t believe it. I got into that Statistics class I was hoping to avoid because last week it was full.  It’s still full, but now with me in it.  Damn. That’s good.  Right?

Fortunately, I had the foresight to hike up to Manitoulin Island to visit my dad on his new farm before it all began. The farm is not actually new, he moved up there two years ago, but this was my first venture.  If you’re wondering why it took me so long look at the map.

So, while I was there, dad worked.  I did nothing except wander around and photograph small and wild things.  And try to capture the moon and clouds. And poke around in his private business.  I brought back his journals from 1966 to 1977 among other bits and bobs.  And it turns out that my dad is perhaps a bit of a book thief, so I now own a couple books which previously graced the libraries of Ken Iverson and Adin Falkoff.

Incidentally, Sage, the infamous cat in the box loves country life and slept at my feet while I was visiting.

Now it’s back to the rate race.  Hey! Up my Klout!  I wanna be the cool kid again!

(Just kidding. I know it’s not Klout that makes me cool.  To borrow from Manuel Simone, it’s intellectual badassness.)

 

 

Share

Docs, housekeeping & the long haul

Organising my research material in Scrivener, a writers programThe big plan for the summer was to get my research 100% completely organised.  All this information is floating around in my head  and it is making a little crazy, to be perfectly honest.

I’m about 80% behind schedule.

Documentary film making is about as opposite to the finance world as you can get.  I’m adjusting to the time frames.

There is progress, but I’ve given up on the predicting side of things.  When will this end?   I don’t know.   And, yes,  I do feel a slight panic when I think about it.   I will, however, eventually figure out how to finish what I’ve started.  It’s a matter of pride.

What you see in the photo above is my new hope.  Scrivener is a writing program a thoughtful Array Jedi Knight passed to me. It’s WORKING!  After spending 2 1/2 years trying to figure out how the hell am I going to keep track of this… this… mess! Scrivener and the filing cabinet I got for Valentines day may do it.  What a huge relief.

These tools are driving a more introspective phase of the project. I’m sifting, evaluating and thinking.  And journaling with more commitment now that I have a way to integrate my daily thoughts with the volumes of material I’m wading through.

On the networking front, I met some people at Hot Docs this year who have already catapulted me light years forward, and they don’t even know it. Howard Fraiberg, for example, insisted that I join Docs, which I did do.  This gives me access to people across Canada who have been slugging it out in the documentary film business for decades.  And I’m privy to their conversations. Awesome.  There’s evidence I’ll live to tell the tale!  And the work! An endless stream of inspiration. This week, I fell in love with A Work in Progress, Frederic Bohbot’s new project. Look!

 

Share



Analytics Plugin created by Jake Ruston's Wordpress Plugins - Powered by Laptop Cases and r4.