Turing, Navia and Schildt

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by spinoza1111, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. spinoza1111

    spinoza1111 Guest

    Gordon Brown on the BBC world service has apologized for the treatment
    of Turing. I wrote a letter to Computerworld naming Turing as the
    inventor of the computer in 1972. He was not so identified then but is
    widely so today: that created the move to rehabilitate Turing's
    reputation: he was chemically castrated by the authorities for being
    gay.

    Neither Navia nor Schildt are being named and shamed here for being
    "gay", and they probably aren't "gay", nor am I (I'm just happy
    sometimes). But, the grammar is isomorphic: the treatment of the
    outsider is similar.

    We can therefore take heart. Turing was unmentionable in polite
    computing circles in 1972 because of his gayness and his contribution
    was ignored, and his credit was stolen by us Americans. Others
    credited von Neumann, wrongly. Even Zuse, who invented a computer for
    Hitler, is credited by others. But Turing invented the concept of
    software.

    The mill of the gods grinds on...
     
    spinoza1111, Sep 11, 2009
    #1
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  2. spinoza1111

    Nobody Guest

    On Thu, 10 Sep 2009 23:41:36 -0700, spinoza1111 wrote:

    > We can therefore take heart. Turing was unmentionable in polite
    > computing circles in 1972 because of his gayness


    Turing wasn't "unmentionable", just unknown until the mid-1970s. The
    reasons why Turing was largely unknown prior to that point are:

    1. His pre-war work on computational theory was of little interest to
    the general public (and even to many IT professionals).

    2. His wartime work on codebreaking was unknown due to official secrecy
    which only ended when (some of) the relevant records were made public 30
    years later (public records are released "by default" after 30 years
    although they may be released earlier or later by an explicit decision).
     
    Nobody, Sep 11, 2009
    #2
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  3. In message
    <>,
    spinoza1111 <> wrote:
    >But Turing invented the concept of
    >software.


    Nonsense. Ada Lovelace was writing software years before Turing wrote
    his papers.

    [Pointing out this fact does not denigrate the major contributions of
    Alan Turing to both computing theory and practice.]

    --
    Clive D.W. Feather | Home: <>
    Mobile: +44 7973 377646 | Web: <http://www.davros.org>
    Please reply to the Reply-To address, which is: <>
     
    Clive D. W. Feather, Sep 11, 2009
    #3
  4. spinoza1111

    spinoza1111 Guest

    On Sep 12, 6:20 am, "Clive D. W. Feather" <> wrote:
    > In message
    > <>,
    >
    > spinoza1111 <> wrote:
    > >But Turing invented the concept of
    > >software.

    >
    > Nonsense. Ada Lovelace was writing software years before Turing wrote
    > his papers.


    So were people wiring plugboards. To do software without knowing it is
    like the British lady who learned, I believe, from Samuel Johnson that
    she was speaking prose. Turing didn't have to be a programmer to
    invent the computer.
    >
    > [Pointing out this fact does not denigrate the major contributions of
    > Alan Turing to both computing theory and practice.]
    >
    > --
    > Clive D.W. Feather                  | Home: <>
    > Mobile: +44 7973 377646             | Web:  <http://www.davros.org>
    > Please reply to the Reply-To address, which is:  <>
     
    spinoza1111, Sep 12, 2009
    #4
  5. In message
    <>,
    spinoza1111 <> wrote:
    >> >But Turing invented the concept of
    >> >software.

    >>
    >> Nonsense. Ada Lovelace was writing software years before Turing wrote
    >> his papers.

    >
    >So were people wiring plugboards. To do software without knowing it

    [...]

    If you read her writings on the stuff, it is clear she knew what she was
    doing - only the word was missing.

    --
    Clive D.W. Feather | Home: <>
    Mobile: +44 7973 377646 | Web: <http://www.davros.org>
    Please reply to the Reply-To address, which is: <>
     
    Clive D. W. Feather, Sep 12, 2009
    #5
  6. spinoza1111

    Chris H Guest

    In message <
    s.com>, christian.bau <> writes
    >On Sep 11, 7:41 am, spinoza1111 <> wrote:
    >
    >> We can therefore take heart. Turing was unmentionable in polite
    >> computing circles in 1972 because of his gayness and his contribution
    >> was ignored...

    >
    >I'm too young to say what happened in any "computing circles" in 1972,
    >polite or not, but in 1977 the professors at my university must have
    >been extremely impolite then to tell us about Turing machines, Turing
    >completeness and so on. van Neumann was only mentioned in Operations
    >Research (Linear Programming).
    >
    >You also forget completely that all of Turing's work for the
    >government was classified for many years, and with very good reasons;
    >the use of the Enigma machine didn't stop after WWII. It just might
    >have given the Russians a little hint that their encryption
    >infrastructure was unsafe if Britain had celebrated Turing as the man
    >who cracked the Enigma.


    It had nothing to do with the Russians. The UK government sold the
    Enigma system to most of the commonwealth countries (and others) telling
    them it was "unbreakable".....

    --
    \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\
    \/\/\/\/\ Chris Hills Staffs England /\/\/\/\/
    \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/
     
    Chris H, Sep 12, 2009
    #6
  7. spinoza1111

    Frank Guest

    On Sep 12, 1:31 am, Richard Heathfield <> wrote:
    > In <xulFD$>, Clive D. W. Feather wrote:
    >
    > > In message
    > > <>,
    > > spinoza1111 <> wrote:
    > >>> >But Turing invented the concept of
    > >>> >software.

    >
    > >>> Nonsense. Ada Lovelace was writing software years before Turing
    > >>> wrote his papers.

    >
    > >>So were people wiring plugboards. To do software without knowing it

    > > [...]

    >
    > > If you read her writings on the stuff, it is clear she knew what she
    > > was doing - only the word was missing.

    >
    > Here is part of a note written by Ada Augusta Lovelace. It would not
    > have seemed terribly out of place in a 1960s tutorial guide for
    > budding mainframe programmers:
    >
    > "These cards, however, have nothing to do with the regulation of the
    > particular numerical data. They merely determine the operations to be
    > effected, which operations may of course be performed on an infinite
    > variety of particular numerical values, and do not bring out any
    > definite numerical results unless the numerical data of the problem
    > have been impressed on the requisite portions of the train of
    > mechanism. In the above example, the first essential step towards an
    > arithmetical result would be the substitution of specific numbers for
    > n, and for the other primitive quantities which enter into the
    > function.
    >
    > Again, let us suppose that for F we put two complete equations of the
    > fourth degree between x and y. We must then express on the cards the
    > law of elimination for such equations. The engine would follow out
    > those laws, and would ultimately give the equation of one variable
    > which results from such elimination."
    >
    > That's a tiny snippet, of course. I would not like to cross
    > mathematical swords with this lady.


    I want to write a screenplay about Turing. Ada would have to be one
    of the characters. She would be attracted to him and they would have
    this heady exchange. But it would never culminate into a romance.

    It could be a little like A Beautiful Mind, except that it might be
    good. For example, it would not whitewash the lead character's
    sexuality.

    My girlfriend has a role in a play that deals with the Matthew Shepard
    murder in Wyoming. I think it's the tenth anniversary. I guess I
    didn't know how persecuted this minority is.
     
    Frank, Sep 12, 2009
    #7
  8. spinoza1111

    Frank Guest

    On Sep 12, 1:58 am, Richard Heathfield <> wrote:
    > In
    > <>,
    >
    > Frank wrote:
    >
    > <snip>
    >
    > > I want to write a screenplay about Turing.  Ada would have to be one
    > > of the characters.  She would be attracted to him and they would
    > > have this heady exchange.

    >
    > I hope she's attracted to younger men. She's 97 years older than him.


    Oh. Well that's the great thing about characters. A writer can put
    her in the same room filled with whatever monstrous computer did the
    punchcards back in 1960. Good mathematics is not easily dated, in the
    pejorative sense.

    The scene wouldn't be all that different from Russell Crowe and
    Jennifer Connelly discussing manifolds.

    Does her name have anything to do with the syntax?
     
    Frank, Sep 12, 2009
    #8
  9. On 12 Sep, 10:33, Frank <> wrote:
    > On Sep 12, 1:58 am, Richard Heathfield <> wrote:
    >
    > > In
    > > <>,

    >
    > > Frank wrote:

    >
    > > <snip>

    >
    > > > I want to write a screenplay about Turing.  Ada would have to be one
    > > > of the characters.  She would be attracted to him and they would
    > > > have this heady exchange.

    >
    > > I hope she's attracted to younger men. She's 97 years older than him.

    >
    > Oh.  Well that's the great thing about characters.  A writer can put
    > her in the same room filled with whatever monstrous computer did the
    > punchcards back in 1960.  


    they were *both* dead by 1960. This sounds ideal for Hollywood

    >Good mathematics is not easily dated, in the
    > pejorative sense.
    >
    > The scene wouldn't be all that different from Russell Crowe and
    > Jennifer Connelly discussing manifolds.
    >
    > Does her name have anything to do with the syntax?


    The programming language Ada was named after Ada Lovelace.
     
    Nick Keighley, Sep 12, 2009
    #9
  10. spinoza1111

    spinoza1111 Guest

    On Sep 11, 7:42 pm, Nobody <> wrote:
    > On Thu, 10 Sep 2009 23:41:36 -0700,spinoza1111wrote:
    > > We can therefore take heart. Turing was unmentionable in polite
    > > computing circles in 1972 because of his gayness

    >
    > Turing wasn't "unmentionable", just unknown until the mid-1970s. The
    > reasons why Turing was largely unknown prior to that point are:
    >
    > 1. His pre-war work on computational theory was of little interest to
    > the general public (and even to many IT professionals).


    No, it was just unknown although Turing did a large amount of cutting-
    edge and useful work for the Pilot Ace in the UK, only to be
    uncredited because he was gay. The pre-war work was not accessible to
    entrepreneurs like Eckert and Mauchly who weren't intellectuals, more
    shirtsleeves types in the Edison model.
    >
    > 2. His wartime work on codebreaking was unknown due to official secrecy
    > which only ended when (some of) the relevant records were made public 30
    > years later (public records are released "by default" after 30 years
    > although they may be released earlier or later by an explicit decision).


    I got the paperback book on the enigma in the very early 1970s. Also,
    the Turing machine was not a wartime secret, nor was the Enigma either
    a general purpose computer or a Turing machine. It was a special
    purpose machine so powerful as to be underused, since Churchill
    realized that if its secrets were used to create Allied attacks, the
    Germans would figure out that the British had broken the code and
    would change the code.
     
    spinoza1111, Sep 12, 2009
    #10
  11. spinoza1111

    spinoza1111 Guest

    On Sep 11, 6:58 pm, "christian.bau" <>
    wrote:
    > On Sep 11, 7:41 am,spinoza1111<> wrote:
    >
    > > We can therefore take heart. Turing was unmentionable in polite
    > > computing circles in 1972 because of his gayness and his contribution
    > > was ignored...

    >
    > I'm too young to say what happened in any "computing circles" in 1972,
    > polite or not, but in 1977 the professors at my university must have
    > been extremely impolite then to tell us about Turing machines, Turing
    > completeness and so on. van Neumann was only mentioned in Operations
    > Research (Linear Programming).


    The university was indeed teaching the Turing machine in the 1970s.
    That's how I learned it, albeit not in class but in a textbook I read
    outside of school.

    However, the data processing corporate establishment at the time
    credited Eckert and Mauchly. This has been disproved. The computer
    emerged separately in different areas: in Britain as Babbage's
    vaporware in the 1860s, in Turing's paperware in 1936, at Harvard in
    the 1940s to be sure, at IBM, at the State University of Iowa, and in
    Zuse's lab during the war. There's even a photo in a Taschen book of
    Chinese scientists clustered around a device identified as a computer
    in 1949, and it would be fascinating to know whether they made it, or,
    where they got it, since in 1949, the Soviets were no longer helping
    the Guomindang and were not supplying computers to the Maoists. I
    wouldn't put it past them to have built the thing.

    Since computers, even programmable, stored-program machines, don't
    have to be either electronic or binary, archeologists may discover
    computers in the records of ancient civilizations.

    However, the claim of invention is important to ruling elites. It was
    and is considered unseemly that the computer be invented by a drunken
    college professor at a cow college or a Nazi.
    >
    > You also forget completely that all of Turing's work for the
    > government was classified for many years, and with very good reasons;
    > the use of the Enigma machine didn't stop after WWII. It just might
    > have given the Russians a little hint that their encryption
    > infrastructure was unsafe if Britain had celebrated Turing as the man
    > who cracked the Enigma.
     
    spinoza1111, Sep 12, 2009
    #11
  12. In article <> spinoza1111 <> writes:
    ....
    > However, the data processing corporate establishment at the time
    > credited Eckert and Mauchly. This has been disproved. The computer
    > emerged separately in different areas: in Britain as Babbage's
    > vaporware in the 1860s, in Turing's paperware in 1936, at Harvard in
    > the 1940s to be sure, at IBM, at the State University of Iowa, and in
    > Zuse's lab during the war.


    I would not call 1938 during the war. The Z1, still all mechanical, but
    the essentials where there. It was only the Z3 that was completely
    functional (and shown to be Turing complete) that was completed in 1941.

    > However, the claim of invention is important to ruling elites. It was
    > and is considered unseemly that the computer be invented by a drunken
    > college professor at a cow college or a Nazi.


    Ah, is *that* the reason you bring it up?
    --
    dik t. winter, cwi, science park 123, 1098 xg amsterdam, nederland, +31205924131
    home: bovenover 215, 1025 jn amsterdam, nederland; http://www.cwi.nl/~dik/
     
    Dik T. Winter, Sep 12, 2009
    #12
  13. spinoza1111

    osmium Guest

    "spinoza1111" wrote:

    >However, the data processing corporate establishment at the time
    >credited Eckert and Mauchly. This has been disproved.


    Is the proof that farcical lawsuit? The guy in Iowa who built the kludge
    that didn't work? And Eckert dropped in on him on a vacation trip and had
    coffee with the guy and picked his brains? And then ***one*** judge said,
    Eckert was a brain picker and not an inventor? Is that the proof, Bunky?

    I agree that Eckert and Mauchly have a pretty tenuous hold on the invention,
    but despite that I don't think Atsanoff was the inventor either. I would
    most likely credit von Neumann (not van Neumann - which would be Dutch);
    Eckert and Mauchly were too busy making a computer like thing that did
    something useful to get into the invention business at that time. There was
    a war on, you know.
     
    osmium, Sep 12, 2009
    #13
  14. spinoza1111

    spinoza1111 Guest

    On Sep 13, 12:20 am, "Dik T. Winter" <> wrote:
    > In article <..com>spinoza1111<> writes:
    > ...
    >  > However, the data processing corporate establishment at the time
    >  > credited Eckert and Mauchly. This has been disproved. The computer
    >  > emerged separately in different areas: in Britain as Babbage's
    >  > vaporware in the 1860s, in Turing's paperware in 1936, at Harvard in
    >  > the 1940s to be sure, at IBM, at the State University of Iowa, and in
    >  > Zuse's lab during the war.
    >
    > I would not call 1938 during the war.  The Z1, still all mechanical, but
    > the essentials where there.  It was only the Z3 that was completely
    > functional (and shown to be Turing complete) that was completed in 1941.


    Well, wasn't 1938 the year of the Czech crisis and Anschluss? I'm too
    lazy to look it up, because Germany was well on its way to re-arming,
    and you're making a silly quibble because like too many Europeans,
    you're offended when Americans know more about your history than you,
    or have to help you fix your problems, sometimes by dying in your
    wars.
    >
    >  > However, the claim of invention is important to ruling elites. It was
    >  > and is considered unseemly that the computer be invented by a drunken
    >  > college professor at a cow college or a Nazi.
    >
    > Ah, is *that* the reason you bring it up?


    No. I am neither a drunk professor nor a Nazi.
    > --
    > dik t. winter, cwi, science park 123, 1098 xg amsterdam, nederland, +31205924131
    > home: bovenover 215, 1025 jn  amsterdam, nederland;http://www.cwi.nl/~dik/
     
    spinoza1111, Sep 13, 2009
    #14
  15. spinoza1111

    Frank Guest

    On Sep 12, 6:47 am, Nick Keighley <>
    wrote:
    > On 12 Sep, 10:33, Frank <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    > > On Sep 12, 1:58 am, Richard Heathfield <> wrote:

    >
    > > > In
    > > > <>,

    >
    > > > Frank wrote:

    >
    > > > <snip>

    >
    > > > > I want to write a screenplay about Turing.  Ada would have to be one
    > > > > of the characters.  She would be attracted to him and they would
    > > > > have this heady exchange.

    >
    > > > I hope she's attracted to younger men. She's 97 years older than him.

    >
    > > Oh.  Well that's the great thing about characters.  A writer can put
    > > her in the same room filled with whatever monstrous computer did the
    > > punchcards back in 1960.  

    >
    > they were *both* dead by 1960. This sounds ideal for Hollywood
    >
    > >Good mathematics is not easily dated, in the
    > > pejorative sense.

    >
    > > The scene wouldn't be all that different from Russell Crowe and
    > > Jennifer Connelly discussing manifolds.

    >
    > > Does her name have anything to do with the syntax?

    >
    > The programming language Ada was named after Ada Lovelace.


    Ohmigod there's a bug under my computer.

    There's nothing that makes me more like a hysterical, screaming drama
    queen than bugs who defy my dexterity.

    I thought I might read H&S V while working in Motenzuma, New Mexico,
    but I just watched the sky instead. Freudenfunkengruven.
     
    Frank, Sep 18, 2009
    #15
  16. spinoza1111

    Frank Guest

    On Sep 12, 11:53 am, "osmium" <> wrote:
    > "spinoza1111" wrote:
    > >However, the data processing corporate establishment at the time
    > >credited Eckert and Mauchly. This has been disproved.

    >
    > Is the proof that farcical lawsuit?  The guy in Iowa who built the kludge
    > that didn't work?  And Eckert dropped in on him on  a vacation trip and had
    > coffee with the guy and picked his brains?  And then ***one***  judge said,
    > Eckert was a brain picker and not an inventor?  Is that the proof, Bunky?
    >
    > I agree that Eckert and Mauchly have a pretty tenuous hold on the invention,
    > but despite that I don't think Atsanoff was the inventor either.  I would
    > most likely credit von Neumann (not van Neumann - which would be Dutch);
    > Eckert and Mauchly were too busy making a computer like thing that did
    > something useful to get into the invention business at that time.  There was
    > a war on, you know.


    dan@dan-desktop:~$ slrn anything
    Usage: slrn [--inews] [--nntp ...] [--spool] OPTIONS
    -a Use active file for getting new news.
    -f newsrc-file Name of the newsrc file to use.
    -C[-] [Do not] use colors.
    -Dname Add 'name' to list of predefined preprocessing tokens.
    -d Get new text descriptions of each group from server.
    Note: This may take a LONG time to retrieve this
    information.
    The resulting file can be several hundred Kilobytes!
    -i init-file Name of initialization file to use (default: .slrnrc)
    -k Do not process score file.
    -k0 Process score file but inhibit expensive scores.
    -m Force XTerm mouse reporting
    -n Do not check for new groups. This usually results in
    a faster startup.
    -w Wait for key before switching to full screen mode
    -w0 Wait for key (only when warnings / errors occur)
    --create Create a newsrc file by getting list of groups from
    server.
    --debug FILE Write debugging information to FILE
    --help Print this usage.
    --kill-log FILE Keep a log of all killed articles in FILE
    --show-config Print configuration
    --version Show version and supported features

    NNTP mode has additional options; use "slrn --nntp --help" to display
    them.


    Anyone have any notions of what this is?
     
    Frank, Oct 13, 2009
    #16
  17. spinoza1111

    Frank Guest

    On Sep 12, 1:44 am, Chris H <> wrote:
    > In message <
    > s.com>, christian.bau <> writes
    >
    >
    >
    > >On Sep 11, 7:41 am, spinoza1111 <> wrote:

    >
    > >> We can therefore take heart. Turing was unmentionable in polite
    > >> computing circles in 1972 because of his gayness and his contribution
    > >> was ignored...

    >
    > >I'm too young to say what happened in any "computing circles" in 1972,
    > >polite or not, but in 1977 the professors at my university must have
    > >been extremely impolite then to tell us about Turing machines, Turing
    > >completeness and so on. van Neumann was only mentioned in Operations
    > >Research (Linear Programming).

    >
    > >You also forget completely that all of Turing's work for the
    > >government was classified for many years, and with very good reasons;
    > >the use of the Enigma machine didn't stop after WWII. It just might
    > >have given the Russians a little hint that their encryption
    > >infrastructure was unsafe if Britain had celebrated Turing as the man
    > >who cracked the Enigma.

    >
    > It had nothing to do with the Russians.   The UK government sold the
    > Enigma system to most of the commonwealth countries (and others) telling
    > them it was "unbreakable".....



    It certainly had a lot to do with Big Secrets. No man is
    unbreakable. If I had to hack Heathfield's computer, I would stalk
    him at his coffee-maker (not church) until I saw a physical means to
    break the programmer.
     
    Frank, Oct 13, 2009
    #17
  18. spinoza1111

    spinoza1111 Guest

    On Sep 12, 6:20 am, "Clive D. W. Feather" <> wrote:
    > In message
    > <>,
    >
    > spinoza1111<> wrote:
    > >But Turing invented the concept of
    > >software.

    >
    > Nonsense. Ada Lovelace was writing software years before Turing wrote
    > his papers.


    Neither she nor Babbage came close to conceptualizing "universal"
    computability. Therefore, Ada Lovelace was writing "software" only in
    the sense of "machine set-up".
    >
    > [Pointing out this fact does not denigrate the major contributions of
    > Alan Turing to both computing theory and practice.]
    >
    > --
    > Clive D.W. Feather                  | Home: <>
    > Mobile: +44 7973 377646             | Web:  <http://www.davros.org>
    > Please reply to the Reply-To address, which is:  <>
     
    spinoza1111, Oct 22, 2009
    #18
  19. spinoza1111

    spinoza1111 Guest

    On Sep 12, 4:31 pm, Richard Heathfield <> wrote:
    > In <xulFD$>, Clive D. W. Feather wrote:
    >
    > > In message
    > > <>,
    > >spinoza1111<> wrote:
    > >>> >But Turing invented the concept of
    > >>> >software.

    >
    > >>> Nonsense. Ada Lovelace was writing software years before Turing
    > >>> wrote his papers.

    >
    > >>So were people wiring plugboards. To do software without knowing it

    > > [...]

    >
    > > If you read her writings on the stuff, it is clear she knew what she
    > > was doing - only the word was missing.

    >
    > Here is part of a note written by Ada Augusta Lovelace. It would not
    > have seemed terribly out of place in a 1960s tutorial guide for
    > budding mainframe programmers:
    >
    > "These cards, however, have nothing to do with the regulation of the
    > particular numerical data. They merely determine the operations to be
    > effected, which operations may of course be performed on an infinite
    > variety of particular numerical values, and do not bring out any
    > definite numerical results unless the numerical data of the problem
    > have been impressed on the requisite portions of the train of
    > mechanism. In the above example, the first essential step towards an
    > arithmetical result would be the substitution of specific numbers for
    > n, and for the other primitive quantities which enter into the
    > function.
    >
    > Again, let us suppose that for F we put two complete equations of the
    > fourth degree between x and y. We must then express on the cards the
    > law of elimination for such equations. The engine would follow out
    > those laws, and would ultimately give the equation of one variable
    > which results from such elimination."
    >
    > That's a tiny snippet, of course. I would not like to cross
    > mathematical swords with this lady.


    She thought math is all about numbers. She (like most machine tenders
    in the "plugboard" era of computation prior to stored programming)
    never realized the importance of self-reflexively having the machine
    do the work for you: this was Grace Hopper. Turing realized the
    importance of self-reflexivity as well. John von Neumann missed it: he
    felt that "mere" programmers (as opposed to big shot anti-Communist
    Hungarian aristocrats) were merely being lazy when they wrote software
    tools. Lovelace and Babbage did not to my knowledge use the difference
    engine to design the difference engine; indeed, their efforts failed
    precisely because Victorian toolsmiths used non-quantitative methods
    to build the parts, while the machine was easy to build today using
    CNC machine tools.

    Indeed, at the time, the use of self-reflexivity in technology (using
    waste steam in steam engines, using the waste products of sugar cane
    (bagasse) to power sugar refining, was almost always the work of
    artisans who in some cases were accused of wasting time and resources.
    >
    > --
    > Richard Heathfield <http://www.cpax.org.uk>
    > Email: -http://www. +rjh@
    > "Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
    > Sig line vacant - apply within
     
    spinoza1111, Oct 22, 2009
    #19
  20. On 22 Oct, 07:00, spinoza1111 <> wrote:
    > On Sep 12, 4:31 pm, Richard Heathfield <> wrote:
    > > In <xulFD$>, Clive D. W. Feather wrote:
    > > > <>,
    > > >spinoza1111<> wrote:



    > > >>> >But Turing invented the concept of software.

    >
    > > >>> Nonsense. Ada Lovelace was writing software years before Turing
    > > >>> wrote his papers.

    >
    > > >>So were people wiring plugboards. To do software without knowing it

    >
    > > > If you read her writings on the stuff, it is clear she knew what she
    > > > was doing - only the word was missing.

    >
    > > Here is part of a note written by Ada Augusta Lovelace. It would not
    > > have seemed terribly out of place in a 1960s tutorial guide for
    > > budding mainframe programmers:

    >
    > > "These cards, however, have nothing to do with the regulation of the
    > > particular numerical data. They merely determine the operations to be
    > > effected, which operations may of course be performed on an infinite
    > > variety of particular numerical values, and do not bring out any
    > > definite numerical results unless the numerical data of the problem
    > > have been impressed on the requisite portions of the train of
    > > mechanism. In the above example, the first essential step towards an
    > > arithmetical result would be the substitution of specific numbers for
    > > n, and for the other primitive quantities which enter into the
    > > function.

    >
    > > Again, let us suppose that for F we put two complete equations of the
    > > fourth degree between x and y. We must then express on the cards the
    > > law of elimination for such equations. The engine would follow out
    > > those laws, and would ultimately give the equation of one variable
    > > which results from such elimination."

    >
    > > That's a tiny snippet, of course. I would not like to cross
    > > mathematical swords with this lady.

    >
    > She thought math is all about numbers.


    If you'd actually read any of her stuff you wouldn't say that.

    > She (like most machine tenders
    > in the "plugboard" era of computation prior to stored programming)


    she wasn't a machine tender as there was no machine. And Babagges
    machines didn't have plug boards. They were mechanical!


    > never realized the importance of self-reflexively having the machine
    > do the work for you: this was Grace Hopper. Turing realized the
    > importance of self-reflexivity as well. John von Neumann missed it: he
    > felt that "mere" programmers <elide daft politics> were merely being lazy when they wrote software
    > tools. Lovelace and Babbage did not to my knowledge use the difference
    > engine to design the difference engine;


    they didn't have a working machine. Did Grace hopper use the machine
    to design the machine?

    > indeed, their efforts failed
    > precisely because Victorian toolsmiths used non-quantitative methods
    > to build the parts, while the machine was easy to build today using
    > CNC machine tools.


    the London Science Museum demonstarted that the manufacture of the
    parts was well within the capabilities of the available technology.
    If anything they were a little over engineered.


    > Indeed, at the time, the use of self-reflexivity in technology (using
    > waste steam in steam engines, using the waste products of sugar cane
    > (bagasse) to power sugar refining, was almost always the work of
    > artisans who in some cases were accused of wasting time and resources.


    it amazes me what you can drag your bizzare social theories into.
     
    Nick Keighley, Oct 22, 2009
    #20
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