[SIGCIS-Members] Paper on H.B. Curry's work on programming and on the ENIAC

Maarten Bullynck maarten.bullynck at kuttaka.org
Tue Sep 1 03:00:53 PDT 2015

Dear SIGCIS list members,

I would like to draw your attention to the latest issue of the Journal 
for Logic and Computation (Volume 25 Issue 4 August 2015, special issue 
"Computability in Europe 2010") that contains some articles of interest 
for the historian of computing.

After five years of waiting, I am happy to see the paper on H.B. Curry's 
work on the ENIAC and on programming finally appear in print. The 
article not only discusses at length on Curry's work on the logical 
composition of programs (mentioned in Knuth and Pardo's paper on the 
history of programming languages), but it also shows the importance of 
Curry's experience of preparing ballistic computations on the early 
ENIAC (before it was rewired into stored-program mode) for this theory 
of programs. In this respect, the paper shows that one and the same 
machine (the ENIAC) may give rise to very different theories and 
practices of programming, Curry's case contrasting with the "classic" 
von Neumann style of programming (that has been (re)contextualized 
nicely in Haigh, Priestley and Rope's recent work).

Reference: Liesbeth De Mol, Martin Carlé and Maarten Bullynck: "Haskell 
before Haskell: an alternative lesson in practical logics of the ENIAC", 
J Logic Computation (2015) 25 (4): 1011-1046 

Another paper of interest is Edgar Daylight's discussion with Tony 
Hoare, "From mathematical logic to programming-language semantics: a 
discussion with Tony Hoare", pp. 1091-1110; as well as the tribute to 
Pour-El, "A Tribute to Marian Boykan Pour-El (1928–2009)".

best regards,

Maarten Bullynck

Département de mathématiques et histoire des sciences
UFR MITSIC, Université Paris 8

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