Programming Research Group

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The Programming Research Group (PRG) was part of the Oxford University Computing Laboratory (OUCL) in Oxford, England, until OUCL became the Department of Computer Science in 2011.

The PRG was founded by Christopher Strachey[1] in 1965 and after his death, C.A.R. Hoare, FRS took over the leadership in 1977.[2] The PRG ethos is summed up by the following quotation from Strachey, found and promulgated by Tony Hoare after he arrived at the PRG:

It has long been my personal view that the separation of practical and theoretical work is artificial and injurious. Much of the practical work done in computing, both in software and in hardware design, is unsound and clumsy because the people who do it have not any clear understanding of the fundamental design principles of their work. Most of the abstract mathematical and theoretical work is sterile because it has no point of contact with real computing. One of the central aims of the Programming Research Group as a teaching and research group has been to set up an atmosphere in which this separation cannot happen.[2][3]

The PRG was a centre of excellence in the field of formal methods, playing a leading role in the development of the Z notation (initiated by a visit of Jean-Raymond Abrial) and CSP (together with the associated Occam programming language). It won Queen's Awards with IBM and Inmos for work in this area.


  1. ^ "Christopher Strachey (1916–1975)]". Virtual Museum of Computing. Internet Archive. 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "History and Structure". Oxford University Computing Laboratory, Internet Archive. 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Undergraduate handbook 2006–07". Oxford University Computing Laboratory, Internet Archive. 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 

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Coordinates: 51°45′35″N 1°15′31″W / 51.7598°N 1.2585°W / 51.7598; -1.2585