Happy 2014! It’s April and 2014 still sounds astonishing. More remarkable still, IP Sharp was founded 50 Years ago. Although APL was not immediately part of the plan in 1964, it would be shortly. In the ensuing years, many array programmers and young business people from around the world cut their baby teeth at this hub of Canadian innovation.
The rest, as they say, is History.
A celebration is in order and on behalf of the steadfast organisers, I’d like to draw your attention to a what promises to be a very special night in Toronto:
Keep the Date! October 4th, 2014, for a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Founding of I. P. Sharp Associates: A reunion party is being planned in Toronto in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Founding of I. P. Sharp Associates in the Fall of 1964!!! Saturday October 4, 2014, 4:00pm to 8:00pm at the Panorama Room, Manulife Centre, Toronto with cocktail buffet & cash bar Details are posted and will be updated at http://ipsa50.ca/
And now, from the archives… for every beginning there is an end… and a new beginning.
You probably noticed there were two choices on the voting ballot for the APL film logo, and logarithm wasn’t one of them. In fact, the APL symbol for rotate lead with 71% before we closed the poll – You might ask: What happened?
The first thing that happened immediately was a strong constituency lobbying for the APL symbol lamp. Lamp is the symbol which denotes a comment in APL, and on the surface this is an obvious choice for a film logo. In fact, lamp was on the list of possibilities presented to Cris Jaw, our visionary leader in the design process. While lamp simply isn’t badass enough for me, we heard the passion in the voices of our critics. The discourse opened the door to the possibility that there might be a better choice than the two up for vote. So, when APL’s logarithm was put forward later in the discussion which followed we had already considered the idea of not going with the vote.
The most compelling reason for going with APL’s symbol logarithm is:
It it denotes a function for which conventional mathematical notation does not have a good symbol (see Roger Hui’s, My Favorite APL Symbol 2013).
What better reminder that Kenneth E. Iverson’s vision was always turned to the future than an APL symbol to remind us that computer languages aren’t perfect, and neither is mathematical notation. In the continuum of human progress, we’re not done yet.
I’m a bit tired from last night’s festivities, but I didn’t want to let another day pass by without a quick hello and a brief update. Right now marks the midway point for this epic filmmaking journey, which puts us on target for our intended 2016 release of the documentary. Yes. This is long range planning and there are some important and exciting milestones planned for 2014. Are you ready?
As for 2012, we talked to a lot of people in the community and did many research interviews. Everyone is doing a wonderful job working with us in what is a completely intrusive process. Thank you, thank you.
I confess to being a particularly poor commentator this year and a few people are still waiting to hear about my trip to Florida to visit Ian and Audrey Sharp way back in August. So, to ring in the new year, here are a few images from the trip.
Ian and Audrey welcomed me into their home and graciously let me root through their collection of I. P. Sharp Associates memorabilia and turn their otherwise pristine living room into a movie set. This is where the news clipping from Olive’s 1965 diary came from.
November 14, 1970
December 20, 1978
January 18, 1981
It was a pleasure to spend a week with the Sharps. They have a beautiful place near the water and interrupted their busy schedule of tenis and volunteering to show me around. Ian does Meals on Wheels and Audrey performs hearing tests on new born babies. And it was hot, hot, hot… They live in a hot place! Hot, it is almost impossible to imagine in snowy Toronto January!
And there is a whole other thesis lurking under all of this about Canadian technology entrepreneurialship. But that is a story for a different day.
Back in the APL FILMS office, we are poised and ready to launch a big publicity campaign in 2014. We’ve been working hard coming up with the concept and final designs for the logo. It’s now down to choosing between two versions. We’re stumped so we’ll put it to a vote. The voting poll is all set-up and waiting for us to pull the tigger on Monday. Stay tuned. We need your help. This is the first of a few important steps moving forward.
Incidentally, Mr. Adin Falkoff’s entry in the CHM’s This Day in History was added a few years ago. It is extra fun to see the legendary collaborators Falkoff and Iverson recognized together with birthdays two days apart. My apologies for not posting this yesterday!
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 – 4pmSee 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.
It took Len Shustek, chairman of the board of trustees of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, 10 years to get permission from IBM to publish the APL/360 source code. Not only has he gone and done it, he’s also written a wonderful companion explanatory essay to go along with its publication. Please see: The APL Programming Language Source Code
Congratulations, Len! Thank you for your persistence.
(Special thanks to the ever vigilant Christian Langreiter for scooping this story)
After graduation at the Canadian Film Centre in 2004, one of my teachers, Susan Gorbet came up to me and said, “Maybe we can hang out. You know. Be friends.” Double-Plus WOW.
Matt Gorbet, who I like to think of as the front man of the dynamic duo, husband and wife team behind Gorbet Design is auditioning for TED! Frankly, his audition in Tech Makes Art Come to Life reminds me of why I do what I do. Inspiration in its purest form.
To put it bluntly, the discipline of programming languages has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics and for purely theoretical and often highly ideological speculation, at the expense of historical research and collaboration with the other social sciences. PL researchers are all too often preoccupied with petty mathematical problems of intere
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