Talk:Edsger W. Dijkstra

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High traffic

On 2 December 2008, Edsger W. Dijkstra was linked from Slashdot, a high-traffic website. (See visitor traffic)

American dominated computer scientist[edit]

As is also the case with his disciple Niklaus Wirth, an American dominated computer scientist could never make sense of Dijsktra's concerns.

What does that mean? 84.182.124.154 (talk) 13:25, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

I wrote it back in 2006 before I was hounded out of Wikipedia by thugs and dirtbags. I am the mighty spinoza1111 or Edward G. Nilges, monstrous horrendum and I post from a cancer hospice in Hong Kong with Stage IV/D1 prostate cancer.

An "American dominated computer scientist" is one who is only aware of dominant paradigms, which from about 1950 to about 1990 were American. She's Fortran aware but bad at using block structure and the rules of structured programming since they come naturally in European-origin languages such as Algol but not at all in American-origin languages such as Fortran.

The phrase is my style but rather sloppy in that it commits a characteristic blunder of mine, throwing pearls before swine. The syntax is taken from writings in my previous career of art which makes me sound female and shrill in a profession where the majority of practitioners are unfamiliar with this register. "Computer scientists" usually are fish necessarily and for their own good unaware of water. They use Fortran in ignorance of any alternative. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 180.219.33.15 (talk) 01:30, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Another confusing statement[edit]

His arrogance may have been clinical depression

What does that mean? How can arrogance "be" clinical depression? It needs to be re-worded. Oddity- (talk) 21:31, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, that was my writing, years ago (2006?). Carelessly worded but my style: for it substitute "His apparent arrogance may have been the result of his depression". Arrogance can be caused by depression as a compensating mechanism but I have no authority for this save my experience which Wikipedia discounts. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 180.219.33.15 (talk) 01:17, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

The text is long gone, fortunately. I'm a good writer but I write too fast and don't proofread.

By the way, I am the mighty spinoza1111, monstrum horrendum, who has long been hounded out of wikipedia by thugs and petty little dirtbags. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 180.219.33.15 (talk) 01:21, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Birth date[edit]

Is he born on May 30 or May 11? --Anon.

All other sources I have been able to find list his date of birth as May 11. Wikipedia seems to be the only source that lists his date of birth as May 30, so I have changed the article. --Popsracer 03:09, 22 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Why don't you ask him:)? Sources sources :) Xchmelmilos (talk) 16:40, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Most namedropped name in comp sci courses??[edit]

All my computer science professors who have met this guy at one point in time can't help but namedrop the fact that they've met him. Is this like this at most universities' computer science colleges? LOL, just something I happened to notice...

He was important; I mean, singlehandedly shifting the industry to use IF and WHILE statements, from GOTOs? Impressive. --Maru (talk) Contribs 04:59, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

"Streamlining" mathematical argument?[edit]

Dijkstra didn't want to "streamline" mathematical argument. If he had, he would have been involved in creating "software tools" to create mathematical arguments for the derivation of programs from mathematics. But his views on these tools are almost unprintable. No, Dijkstra wanted by example to show that it was possible to code programs as a human venture with a committment to truth "lexically ordered" above efficiency and "user friendliness" (assuming, the case of the latter word, he could even bring himself to use it). I've borrowed the notion of "lexical ordering" from the political philosopher John Rawls. In it, a political or other priority is fully satisfied before one proceeds to the next. It is 'lexical" because it is a sorting operation (when you sort alphabetically, the first letter is lexically prior to the second). Rawls' application to American Constitutional law meant that you had to first fully satisfy the requirements of the Constitution before moving on to other "priorities", where the bureaucratic term "priority" covers up lexical demands by giving everything the same "priority". Dijkstra, unlike most other computer scientists, had a strong sense of lexical ordering without, in all probability, reading Rawls because as an "intellectual" he removed himself from the category of a worker who would let management set the priorities, commanding him to "get it done and then worry about correctness", and fit in to a universal system of trade-offs where lexical ordering gives way to Pareto optimality. Dijsktra wanted not to streamline mathematical arguments but to continue to make them, strictly speaking outside of mathematics, which gave him during his lifetime a reputation as somewhat disruptive. When Communications of the ACM presented Dijsktra's thought on computer science education in 1992, the editors seemed to have taken care to defuse his dirsuptive reputation by embedding his thoughts in a context of early-Internet groupthink, and by setting him against computer science feminists (using feminism as a wedge issue as usual). In fact, he wanted to be a complete subject, a person who would step outside of a predefined role as an endowed professor in order to seek truth, as opposed to an object, a person responsive in a network to the "needs of others", this responsiveness being almost always a demand for compromise. To me, this shows how Kant seems to have been influential directly or indirectly in Dijkstra's mental development for in Holland in the 1940s, he seems, thanks to a traditional Continental education, to have been spared the more empirical and group-oriented education on tap in the the UK and America, where people learn the trade-offs they must make. I think this is why Dijkstra was in terms of the generally colorless character of so many computer scientists (who outside computer science and in a manner carefully separated from their professional concerns, engage wilder shores in the manner of Steve Jobs almost as a protest against dehumanization) such a Turk at a christening. Finally, many computer science professors like to say they met him because in meeting him they met a human being in what is (thanks in part to computers and their software, most assuredly not constructed the way Dijsktra thought they should be) a post-human era. To say as in Hollywood, I once met Tom Cruise, is a protest against the idea of being what is in Dilbert an inDUHvidual. I never met Dijsktra, but I did meet Kernighan and I was like Wayne's world: I'm not worthy! I'm scum! I think the article needs more depth on Dijkstra's contributions and in the near future I shall boldly go.

I rarely understand what you're talking about. --24.126.46.138 03:04, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Pity. However, I am too old to take responsibility for the failure of schools to teach reading comprehension. My sin is (was) throwing pearls before swine, because I am widely read, not only in computer science, and beyond that widely traveled. Since I published a book on applied computer science (Edward G. Nilges, "Build Your Own .Net Language and Compiler", Apress 2004) I am, just barely, an "international authority".

However, I now write from a Hong Kong cancer hospice (Stage IV, baby, Stage IV). Doing my best to hang in there, and it would probably shorten my life to once again battle the Marching Morons.

The above is a rough draft. My sister is an English prof and my refusal to revise drives her batshit. But these posts are ancient, so there's probably no reason for me to revise the above. It would make the text longer, in all probability. Sorry you had trouble.

Edward G. Nilges, Grantham Hospital, Hong Kong 22 May 2013 — Preceding unsigned comment added by 180.219.33.15 (talk) 01:41, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Pronunciation[edit]

Perhaps we could get someone who speaks basic Dutch to resolve how his name is pronounced? Its changed three times since I first looked at this page about three months ago. Gershwinrb 06:48, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Been done--check this sound file at [1] of a Dutch man pronouncing Dijkstra's name and a few other names. That file comes from this page: [2]; there is actually a link to that page from Edsger Dijkstra. The problem is different English-speaking people hearing the sounds differently. Listening carefully, it sounded like "Ets-her Dextra" to me, a native speaker of American English. Or even "It's her Dextra". Listen and see what you think. DanielCristofani 10:14, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, it sounded like Eds-gur Dextra to me when I listened to it about a month ago, which was why I was surprised when it changed again. The problem is, I think, that the sound clip itself is open to interpretation for the first name. I'll try and see if I can't find a written phonetic pronunciation somewhere (or try and find a Dutch speaker on here!). Gershwinrb 11:24, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Notice that its even changed since you edited it. Gershwinrb 11:30, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Hi, sorry but I've never heard of the name and have no idea how it is pronounced. After listening to the file, it sounded like ETS-ger or ETS-gur. Don't know which to choose as a phonetic notation. The first part sounds like "ets" as in the Dutch verb "etsen"; the second part sounds like "gur" as in the final syllable of the Dutch word "water". For English speaking it's very hard to indicate the last part since they don't have the rough g sound. The closest (English) sound to the Dutch "g" is the rather rough "h" that is pronounced in words like "human" and "huge"; but not all "h" sound the same in English. So I'm afraid I don't know how to write Edsger so that it is pronounced correctly. If I were more experienced in using the International Phonetic Alphabet, maybe I could come up with a notation :S --A. Rad 16:51, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
How about deleting the Pronunciation section and instead adding a link to a sound file in the first line of the article? Then we can end this discussion once and for all. I could make the recording, if necessary. China Crisis 17:09, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
OK, The pronunciations of his first and last name in IPA are now right. His middle name however is wrong. Wybe is pronounced with "ie" like in "relief", so "Wiebe". Note the difference between y and ij. The only problem is, I don't know what the IPA symbol for that is. --NativeDutchSpeaker 11:04, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Its /i/, I changed it. China Crisis 07:33, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
I listened to the pronunciation. I am a native Dutch speaker. The current sound file, to me, sounds like it was produced by someone who is not a native Dutch speaker. 68.200.97.152 (talk) 01:05, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
But let me point out one thing: No native Dutch speaker would ever say it like in the sound file. They would pronounce it much more quickly. STILL, even if a native Dutch speaker were to speak his name that slowly, it would NOT sound like that. Again, it sounds to me (a native Dutch speaker) as though a non-native Dutch speaker tried to pronounce it. And it is very obvious to most native Dutch speakers. Native Dutch speakers can very easily detect non-native speakers. 68.200.97.152 (talk) 01:15, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Clarification[edit]

Someone please clarify the sentence "In a 2001 interview, he stated a desire for "elegance," whereby the correct approach would be to process thoughts mentally, rather than attempt to render them until they are complete.". It is unclear to me what is meant by that statement.

Isn't it rather self-explanatory? The elegance Dijkstra stood for was a(n applied) variant of mathematical elegance. He rejected the anglo-saxon concept of iterative learning (= repeat until success has been reached). Before you started doing something he wanted you to know where you were planning to go and how you were going to do so. You shouldn't begin writing down a sentence before you knew exactly how it was going to end,...You could suspect that the 'backspace' and 'delete' key on a keyboard were abominations to him, because they encouraged slopiness. So the main idea is that you should always structure your thought mentally before outputting anything into the physical world.

Moved text[edit]

The snippets below were removed from The Cruelty of Really Teaching Computer Science. They may be useful in expanding this article. -- Beland 01:20, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

  • his letter in March 1968 to CACM about structured programming
  • From “real life”, down to examples involving the coupling of railroad cars, Dijkstra throughout his career gave examples of how rigid formal constraints emerge from practical examples and as such presented a confusing picture.
  • Dijkstra, it seems from the record, thought in a way derived from his early training and education, a traditional education in The Netherlands which was meant to prepare an elite (similar to that in France) not for technical tasks but for legislation and governance. This type of training in the “ideal world” requires the statesman to think in a way described as “lexical” in that the statesman (again in an ideal world) satisfies Constitutional principles before other “priorities”, and the statesman doesn’t “do” trade–offs that sacrifice core principles.
Dijkstra took this world-view (which is based in part on Kant) into a technical career, and seems to have believed that program correctness was “constitutional” in that an incorrect program (or group solution) was worthless or even of negative worth.
His view seems to have been shared by earlier computer scientists: for example, in Gerald Weinberg’s 1972 book The Psychology of Computer Programming, Weinberg related a story in which a programmer, proposing an elegant but “inefficient” solution, tells the author of the inelegant, “efficient”, and buggy solution, “but your solution doesn’t work: if the solution doesn’t have to work, then Begin..End is a valid solution”.

Organization needed[edit]

We may need to split the big section about his life into "biography" and "works". --euyyn 21:05, 23 June 2006 (UTC)


Never owned a computer[edit]

I'm not sure if a I buy that. The closest thing to that I have found is this article http://homepages.cwi.nl/~apt/ps/dijkstra.pdf which states that he did not write any of his articles on a computer.

A few sources, such as this interview indicate that he did not have much exposure to computers. Donald Knuth says "Edsgar Dijkstra wants proudly to be called a 'computer programmer,' although he hasn't touched a computer now for some years." here, in refercence to EWD340, or "The Humble Programmer." And EWD1305 also clearly shows this (answer to question 2).
--GatesPlusPlus 15:06, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
Heh, you young'uns. Back in Dijkstra's heyday, let's say til at least the early 1980's, it was fairly rare for anyone, including CS professors and programmers who wrote code all day long, to personally own their own computers. It would be like an airline pilot owning his own 747. This was the pre-PC era and computers on which serious research or development was done, needed a lot of air conditioning, cost as much as a house, and were almost always owned by the university or company that the programer or researcher worked for. Yeah I know there were 8-bit micros in those days, but Dijkstra wasn't the kind of guy who would have used one. In the mid '80s there started to be affordable PC's and Macintoshes, but they were nowhere near as serious as the Unix workstations (that cost as much as cars) that a university CS dept. would have put on professors' desks, so Dijkstra would have used one of those instead. My guess is he resisted owning a computer til the 1990's or so when they became ubiquitous. 207.241.238.233 18:05, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Edsger Dijkstra bought his first (personal) computer in the year 1998. In the year 1989 the university already offered/gave him a computer so he could check his mail (he didn't want it though). In the year 2000 he owned a Macintosh G3 which he rarely used. (source: http://www.trouw.nl/krantenarchief/2000/10/18/2461425/_Software__Ik_vind_het__met_permissie__puin_.html)) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 193.190.253.146 (talk) 23:59, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Retirement[edit]

The short biography at Dijkstra's UTexas user page titled "About Dijkstra" suggests he retired as Schlumberger Centennial Chair of Computer Sciences in November 1999, but this WP article says he remained until his death in 2002. Does anybody know the correct date? -- Fhersey 21:46, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm a UT CS Alum and former student of Dijkstra. I think both of these dates are correct. After he 'retired' the university kept him as a member of the department (emeritus) until his death. -- Punkgeek 02:25, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Odd[edit]

Anyone ever notice how his last name just happens to have the common loop iterators i, j & k in that order? I wonder if he had an influence on choosing such loop iterators...

probable coincidence. The variable I was born out of being the first one-letter variable in Fortran that was implicitly declared integer, and J and K were the next ones. This was around 1953. (See Fortran and [3] for details). This was the source of the FORTRAN joke "God is REAL (unless declared INTEGER)"... --Alvestrand 10:52, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
the variable i to iterate over a "process" was born out of mathematical notation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.23.246.56 (talk) 08:53, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 09:48, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

A page listing Dijkstra's algorithms[edit]

Hello,

I am just sounding out the idea of starting a page to list all of the algorithms invented by Dijsktra. Were there that many in the first place? Thanks. --Scriber (talk) 10:37, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Dijstra was prolific enough, but the problem is going through all the old papers and seeing what algorithms were new and what built on earlier work. Categories might make more sense - algorithms are inherently notable, IMO. --Gwern (contribs) 17:33 15 March 2008 (GMT)

Rambling paragraph in Legacy section.[edit]

"Some of his work remains cutting edge to this day, notably on multiprocessing. At other times he seems to have pursued pure mathematics without being a member of the rather close-knit international mathematical fraternity and may as a result have been the first to discover fascinating and elegant new proofs of things already known. Here, the warnings of his family and university teachers may have had some validity; they felt that by wanting to be a computer programmer and not a professor of mathematics, Dijkstra was violating a family and social tradition for a tradesman's occupation, and indeed Dijkstra returned to academic life with apparent relief after encountering corporate thinking."

This paragraph doesn't make any sense, so i've removed it. The "warnings of his family" aren't mentioned elsewhere in the article, and neither is "corporate thinking", which is a little bit derogatory as a term. I'd like to work the first sentence back into the article - semaphores really are still important. I also removed a comment on beards, because life is too short. --87.194.236.208 (talk) 01:35, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia puts up a high hurdle with WP:RS so from that point of view I've no trouble with your edit, even if occassional (unsourced) interaction with EWD would provide a basis for some of the text that you removed. On the other hand, your apparent standard of editing would leave a lot of other articles pretty bare. Maybe we should worry about that there and then. -- Iterator12n Talk 02:08, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Mathematics Inc.[edit]

I've added a discussion under "EWDs and writing by hand" about Mathematics Inc., a fictional company invented by Dijkstra. He always contended that programming should be done more like mathematics, and in the Mathematics Inc. essays he contemplated what would happen if mathematics were done more like programming, with its schedule delays, cost overruns, licensing, standardization battles, etc. These essays are humorous but not a joke. --Uncia (talk) 15:56, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

But the way it's written now it is not clear that its intent is humorous. The reader may think the company actually existed. I think an encyclopedia should not leave any doubt about its veracity. China Crisis (talk) 16:08, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
I have put in some more cautionary words to make it clearer that this is fiction. --Uncia (talk) 18:05, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Ok! China Crisis (talk) 13:40, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
The idea that you can rigorously demonstrate to other people that you have a proof of some theorem, without your having to reveal the actual proof, is the gist of the PCP theorem, a celebrated result in computer science. Dijkstra's idea of a secret proof of the Riemann Hypothesis may become reality someday. Shudder. 66.127.55.192 (talk) 04:30, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Dijkstra / Dŷkstra[edit]

I noticed that at the end of "The Cruelty of Really Teaching Computing Science" (pdf) the author signed his name as "Edsger Dŷkstra". Its a spelling I hadn't seen before, and so got me wondering if this is his real name? Did he choose to switch to Dijkstra, or maybe the circumflex ŷ was less computer/print friendly, so got substituted with ij by early publishers and it stuck? The Dykstra article provides some insight, but suggests that Dijkstra and Dykstra are actually two different names, with the latter being an Americanisation of the former, so they aren't simply interchangeable. Chris Bainbridge (talk) 20:40, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

On the cruelty of really teaching computing science, EWD1036
I think it's just sloppiness of handwriting, akin to a liguture. See, the occurrence of "establishment" in the last sentence of the manuscript, for comparison. -- C. A. Russell (talk) 20:57, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Not quite that simple. "ij" is considered by some to be a separate letter in Dutch. Of course it is normally transliterated as i, j in English. see Dutch alphabet 131.215.45.159 (talk) 23:40, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

From what I know of Dutch, "y" is sometimes used to represent "ij". This is in fact a single letter, it is capitalized as "IJ" as in the river IJssel. kovesp (talk) 21:23, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

This is true in handwriting, where you often see a rounded y with dots - which can be read as i-ligature-j) to represent ij and I believe Dijkstra provides a nice example there, except that the dots are joined, which is not standard, and therefore seems accidental as C. A. Russell says. By the way, Dijkstra is a Frisian name, spelt Dykstra in Frisian, and the ^ is used in Frisian, but there is no reason to think E.W. is alluding to any of that. Rp (talk) 21:45, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Transcript for Noorderlict video[edit]

Since it is a 20-minute video of 300MB and to save time for others, I have added a rought transcript of the /Discipline in Thought video.--75.37.24.246 (talk) 15:23, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

This article is poorly written[edit]

I believe the quality of this Wikipedia entry has degenerated. Dates are inaccurate (e.g. a cursory inspection of Dijkstra's website would show that he was a Burroughs fellow from 1973 to 1984), there are gross trivialisations of his work (e.g. that structured programming boils down to deprecating the GOTO statement — something Dijkstra himself criticised in EWD1308), and many sentences are simply amateurish in composition (e.g. "...to process thoughts mentally..."). It is all the more ironic, given Dijkstra's (openly admitted) perfectionism.

Furthermore, I think the quality of the some of the "discussions" in this section are also poor, including the nonsensical section titled "Streamlining...".

This subject requires no less than a mature and knowledgeable writer.

Crispin.cheddarcock (talk) 19:49, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree with you. What's worse are some of the pages detailing his contributions, such as the articles on the semaphore and on his paper "On the Cruelty of Really Teaching Computer Science". The whole thing needs a rewrite, not just incremental improvements.--OMouse (talk) 06:15, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

{{close paraphrase}} template makes a liar out of someone[edit]

In the

Revision as of 13:48, 5 April 2009 (edit) (undo) C. A. Russell (talk | contribs)

revision of the article, the template reference "{{close paraphrase}}" was added -- (see http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Edsger_W._Dijkstra&diff=281961546&oldid=279349809 ). (Is is correct to call that thing in double curly brackets a "template reference"? If not, then what is it called?)

It expands to a box which looks like this: {{close paraphrase}} Now, as you can see, that template [expansion] box says to "See the talk page for details.", which is tantamount to [the editor who added the above mentioned template reference] saying that the talk page contains some "details" -- that is, "evidence" for the accusation that the article violates some rule about containing "close paraphrasing of one or more non-free copyrighted sources."

But there is a problem here. How are we supposed to "See the talk page for details.", when No material was added to the talk page [!], to back up such a claim? That makes it very hard to find! And, via the use of a very nebulous technique (including a URL in the edit summary) (the edit summary of the article -- NOT of the talk page), the accuser leaves it up to us to sift through a huge amount of material at that URL, that might be suffering plagiarism (or, some kind of violation of copyright rules).

Information, please! What section is it, of the web page at the URL

http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/2002-2003/memorials/Dijkstra/dijkstra.html

that is allegedly suffering plagiarism (or, some kind of violation of copyright rules)?

Wikipedia editors (present company included) tend to try to be reasonable. They (including me) are usually willing to evaluate what changes are needed, to a given article, in order to work towards the goal, of arriving at that time when it is appropriate to remove the "{{close paraphrase}}" from the article.

However, in order to even try to do that, some more information is needed!

How and where is the wording in the Wikipedia article [too] similar, now, to the wording in the web page of the University of Texas faculty council? OK, the part of the article to focus on, is probably the "== EWDs and writing by hand ==" section of the article; but what part of the external web page is it too similar to?

These "details" are needed, in order for someone to figure out what to change, (and how to change it), to fix the problem.

Thank you! --Mike Schwartz (talk) 07:59, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

what does EWD stand for?[edit]

i think that this particular fact is sorely missing from the article. --Kaini (talk) 02:04, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Second sentence in the section "EWDs and writing by hand"
"The manuscripts are called EWDs, since Dijkstra numbered them with EWD as prefix."
Since the article is about Edsger W. Dijkstra, one may assume that the authour used EWD as a prefix because those are his initials. This seems very clear to me, but perhaps other readers could benefit from the wording "Dijkstra numbered them with his initials - EWD - as a prefix." Dead Horsey (talk) 23:46, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
heh, i feel stupid now. regardless, edited the article to clarify. --Kaini (talk) 00:00, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

ACM fellow 1994[edit]

Dijkstra was also honored as an ACM fellow in 1994. It's one of the more prestigious honors which would surely deserve mention in the 'Awards and honors' section. Being merely anonymous I'm not going to take lead and adjust the article. I'll leave it to the good judgement of a Wikipedian. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.165.114.34 (talk) 13:48, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

Ok, updated the list of honors - formatting of that might be a little wonky - but it's now in there with a link to the full set of ACM fellows. dwmc (talk) 05:47, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Citing Quotes[edit]

There are a number of places in this article where quotes are attributed to Dijkstra - but which are un-cited. I'm going to add a few 'citation needed' tags. I'm betting there are some experts here who could quickly attribute those quotes. dwmc (talk) 21:01, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Replace footnote reference [Dijkstra, E. W. (1982). Selected Writings...] with specific EWDs from cs.utexas.edu archive[edit]

If possible (no intelectual property issues etc) , please replace the ISBN 9780387906522 reference with the online list at http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/transcriptions/transcriptions.html. Even better, add reference to specific documents in the list mentioned above for each EWD mentioned in the article, i.e. for http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/ewd04xx/EWD443.PDF as a reference for EWD443.

Contact information on the page is [email] ham [on the domain] cs.utexas.edu

Hardly anyone will run to local library or go hunting for a printed version in bookstores. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.212.37.129 (talk) 10:13, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

To make this easier, I have created a special template for EWDs and introduced it in a handful of articles, but it could use further improvement. E.g. it would be nice if it supported a reference to the Selected Works as an optional argument. Rp (talk) 21:49, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Papers and articles vs letters[edit]

"Go to statement considered harmful" is correctly cited in the references as a "Letter to the Editor" [of CACM]. The text above uses the word "paper" and "article". First, this "paper" is 2 pages long. Second, CACM is a refereed journal of papers/articles; letters to the Editor aren't (minimally). It's not really an article or paper; the text should really use the word "Letter" not article nor paper. The Letter was reproduced else where in a number of other texts like collections of software engineering papers (it's amazingly short) as well as the Structure Programming book with Hoare and Naur. One should really just have a link the entire work it's so short except that today's computing context would be lost in this mostly post-Goto era. Actually, quite a few other major computing papers are short. I think Dijkstra used to also get criticized by his colleagues for not citing references. 198.123.57.82 (talk) 17:52, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Reverse Polish Notation[edit]

The part where it says "Among his contributions to computer science are ... Reverse Polish Notation and related Shunting yard algorithm" may induce to think that he invented the notation. While he did invent the Shunting yard algorithm, the notation was actually invented by the Australian philosopher and early computer scientist Charles L. Hamblin in mid 1950s. (Source) -- Marco Lackovic (talk) 15:24, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

No, it was invented in the 1920s by Tarski et al., who were Polish mathematicians and logicians. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 180.219.33.15 (talk) 01:46, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

The notation was invented in 1924 by Jan Łukasiewicz. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 11:34, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

Missing source[edit]

"Looking closely at himself he realized that if he wrote about things they would appreciate at the MC in Amsterdam his colleagues in Eindhoven would not understand; if he wrote about things they would like in Eindhoven, his former colleagues in Amsterdam would look down on him." — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.171.57.121 (talk) 03:09, 24 June 2013 (UTC)