Recursion and state


Despite some deep results, algebraic automata theory has fallen out of favor in theoretical computer science. Reasons include the disciplines failings such as a love of over-generality, weak mathematical background of people working on "formal methods", and gap between theoreticians and engineers. But perhaps the key reason is that traditional…

Are threads evil? (updated)


This paper by Prof. Edward Lee explains something of why "threads" are such a painful abstraction.  As Prof. Lee notes, threads intrinsically create unspecified program operation (which he calls non-determinism) and resource conflicts which we then attempt to "prune" via synchronization and complex tools. In an earlier note, I argued…

Dijkstra versus Perlis (updated)


[caption id="attachment_2516" align="alignright" width="333"] Bertrand Russell.[/caption] Dijkstra wrote: He [Perlis] published a very obnoxious paper arguing against a mathematical approach to programming cite The paper  by De Millo, Lipton and Perlis  starts as follows: Many people have argued that computer programming should strive to become more like mathematics. Maybe so, but not…