Category Archives: Computer Science

Language Lessons from a Steam-powered Light Bulb

People who make a career in science, computers or otherwise, generally do so because they are naturally drawn to it. They find science fascinating and entertaining, and thus are usually very good at it.

This is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because it means they will spend most of their life doing essentially what they want to do; not everyone is so lucky. It is a curse because their instinctive understanding of science may cover up unsuspected misunderstandings, making it difficult to explain to others what they are doing and why it is important. Worse, these unsuspected misunderstandings may make certain aspects of the science to which they are naturally drawn less than pleasant, rendering them more of a burden than a pleasure. Continue reading Language Lessons from a Steam-powered Light Bulb

Who Shaped Modern Computing — Part 2?

In part one, I asked the question “Who is big in computing?” and probed the answer by constructing a social network gleaned from the references listed below. As expected, the network is scale-free, meaning it contains a handful of highly connected nodes—people, places, and things—and a majority of sparsely connected nodes. Furthermore, the most-connected nodes in the social network are languages, John Backus, and Edsger Dijkstra. Continue reading Who Shaped Modern Computing — Part 2?

Who is Big in Computing – Part 1?

More than 70 years into computing, Moore’s Law keeps on doubling performance of the basic engine of the post-industrial information age. Looking back at this incredible progress makes me wonder, “Who has had the biggest influence on computing since electronic digital computers were designed and built for the first time in the 1940s?” Continue reading Who is Big in Computing – Part 1?

Imitators and Innovators Adopt RISC

2015 marks 40 years since John Cocke of IBM Research introduced the idea of a reduced instruction set computer (RISC) to the world. It has been a long road, but today RISC architecture computer systems dominate the mobile computing landscape. More than 50 billion processors have been delivered to consumers through the purchase of products ranging from TV set-top boxes, tablets, and most significantly, cell phones. RISC is an overnight success story that took 40 years to be realized. Continue reading Imitators and Innovators Adopt RISC