Sunday, January 23, 2011

Top 5 Computer Scientists With Balls And Brains

5: Donald Knuth for giving his middle finger to the entire digital typesetting community by making his own superior system, eons ahead of everyone else. It took balls and skills, man. His TAOCP volumes should cover the brain part, if you feel TeX doesn't cut it.

4: Dijkstra for considering goto harmful. Many a coder disagreed vocally, calling it a neat construct for error handling (the Linux monkeys still do.) It surely took balls to oppose the longjmp mafia, and brains to convince 96% of the coding population.

3: Alan Kay for inventing a measure of arrogance in computer science: nano-Dijkstras. And it took a big brain to get small talk out of an eight bit computer.

2: Bjarne Stroustrup for deluding millions of people into thinking that slapping OO constructs on top of a portable assembly language (C) was a good idea. It most definitely took brains to implement the shit in a preprocessor.

1: John Backus for having the audacity to believe, in the 19-friggin-50s, that high-level language source could be compiled into efficient machine code. No doubt does it take a well-massaged brain to punch an optimizing compiler into a bunch of paper cards.


  1. Oh, here's the Dijkstra bashing vid' by Kay, by the way;

  2. nice :-D another computer scientist with balls was Jim Gray