[Chicago] History of programming

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Wed May 27 07:12:22 CEST 2015


On Tue, May 26, 2015 at 3:42 PM, Jason Wirth <wirth.jason at gmail.com> wrote:

> Does anyone know resources for the history of programming? For example:
> function call vs function invocation.
>
> Why do we use these terms? More importantly, why use "invocation" when the
> simpler word "call" exists?
>
> This is one example. I'm sure there are many other interesting nuggets of
> history.
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I'd say the classic The Art of Computer Programming (TAOCP) by Knuth,
multi-volume, is highly influential in giving computer science people a
touchstone with a built-in namespace.

He uses the shoptalk with confidence and with pith, basing all his
algorithms in an invented assembly level language.  You may well know if
it, but not everyone does.

http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~uno/taocp.html

Other books of that stature.

These are good questions, where our terms come from.

Python has contributed simply in providing a relatively clear application
for concepts of "binding", "namespace" and so on.

Python has a clear notion of "callable" as "those objects which eat" i.e.
"have a mouth" (how I start with beginners sometimes).

Our callables aren't just functions, but types as well.   In Python 3.x,
range() and enumerate() are type calls, not function calls.

It's an ongoing feedback loop, a continuing revelation if you wanna sound
religious about it. ;-D

Kirby

(lurker in Portland, fan of Chipy)
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