Oct 1, 2010

Keynote speech of Barbara Liskov at Grace Hopper Conference 2010 Atlanta

From Math Major to Language Translation to Stanford to Turing award:

After getting Turing award, someone called her home and said "Why did she got this award for ? all people already know these stuffs" . Yes, now all people know this 'Stuffs' , when we write a piece of java code , it comes so easy and familiar, it's hard to imagine once upon a time, there was no such thing as OO programming and scientists like Liskov tried and thought so hard make it happen.

She did her PhD Thesis on AI before starting to work on Systems. She was the only other girl in her grad class at Stanford back then ! And universities were not even ready to hire woman faculty.

Inventing abstract data type : The Venus machine : investigate micro-programming ; decided to embed semaphore directly in the machine instruction.

Venus operating system: time sharing system.

Programming methodology: software crisis : how to build program effectively , people did not understand the cost pf software ( the value of programmers was not even an issue to ponder )

ADT to CLU to Distributed Systems:The landscape: She recollects her memory how people reacted to this article: E.W. Dijkstra: Go To Statement considered harmful. 1968. How it was complicated using 'goto' statement and jumping around codes ! People were insulted ! Design as a problem statement : 1971 paper. top-down and bottom-up approach.

QA: Question from audience: "What is the best choice of first programming language to start with as a student of CS?"

Answer from Liskov: "There is no easy or right answer, but Python is the best choice today."

Such a wonderful speech and she finished with the recent and still ongoing research problem of System field ,