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Great Computer Science Papers?

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the greatest-cs-hits dept.

Programming 410

slevin writes "Recently I listened to a talk by Alan Kay who mentioned that many 'new' software ideas had already been discovered decades earlier by computer scientists - but 'nobody reads these great papers anymore.' Over the years I have had the opportunity to read some really great and thought-provoking academic papers in Computer Science and would like to read more, but there are just too many to sort through. I'm wondering what great or seminal papers others have encountered. Since Google has no answers, perhaps we can come up with a list for the rest of the world?"

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I love MS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486597)

Don't forget to support MS, you open source fucktards!

Oh, yeah, first post!

to2600 owns j00

CLAIMED.. FOR THE JIHAD (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486660)

I am EJACULATING on your face!

This is an fp!

FECES POST!

Re:I love MS! (1)

deja206 (711205) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486848)

the worst spam message ever!!! =)

Nay, archetypal... (4, Interesting)

Empiric (675968) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486599)

For "great and seminal" it's hard to beat Alan Turing's 1950 (!) paper on AI [loebner.net] .

Re:Nay, archetypal... (5, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486651)

Alan Turing was a genius, pure and simple.

His crypto work during the war was massively significant in winning the battle of the Atlantic, his ideas on programming, AI, neural networks, and the more-public "turing test" were breathtaking and groundbreaking. Less well known is his theory of non-linear biology, and some exceptional papers in physics. A modern version of the renaissance scientist, the michaelangelo of his day.

The hounding of him (because he was gay), arrest, loss of clearance, and subsequent suicide by cyanide in '54 was a shameful treatment of one of the most brilliant men in science this century.

Simon.

Re:Nay, archetypal... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486712)

> one of the most brilliant men in science this century.

Much as I hate to nitpick... :p

Re:Nay, archetypal... (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486745)

Got me :-)

Ok - revised: "in the last 100 years"...

ATB,
Simon

How about Turing's 1935 paper? (4, Interesting)

dido (9125) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486808)

"On computable numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem" [abelard.org] " is unarguably the paper that began the field of computer science as we understand it today. Here we have the first descriptions of universal computing devices, Turing machines, which eventually led to the idea of universal stored-program digital computers. The paper even seems to describe, in what is unarguably the first ever conceptual programming language, a form of continuation passing style [ic.ac.uk] in the form of the "skeleton tables" Turing used to abbreviate his Turing machine designs. It's also relatively easy reading compared to many other scientific papers I've seen.

Along with this we might also include Alonzo Church's 1941 paper "The Calculi of Lambda Abstraction" (which sadly does not appear to be anywhere online), where the lambda calculus, the basis for all functional programming languages, is first described.

Bah, Turing used long words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486821)

How can the language used in that kind of paper possibly rival the attraction of strong and concise word like "hot" and "grits"?

Language frames the thoughts and shapes the minds of those that use it. And Slashdot pretty much proves the point.

['Not sure if a smily helps or hinders the point here.]

oh yeah! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486602)

Who is your daddy and what does he do?

bleep bleep bloop (1, Funny)

turbosk (73287) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486603)

I was writing this one great paper and the computer went, like, bloop bleep, and it was, like, gone. It was a really good paper. So I had to write it again, but it wasn't as good. It was a.....bummer.

apologies to ellen feiss

Hard to decipher (0)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486607)

Back around the time I graduated, I used to try and read some of those papers. The language they were written in was rather hard to decipher, communications skills were not very prominent ;-)

Papers or books ? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486610)

Often, when you're new to a given domain, there exists a book (on citeseer too...) that covers the domain and express, often better than the original authors, the main ideas.
Then, you can use citeseer to see what's new and what's the fashion in the domain.
Anyway, one of the best papers (and oldest) I read give birth to a whole community:
http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/ms/what/sha nnonday/pape r.html

Growing a Language (1)

leecho (627827) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486615)

Read Guy Steele's 'Growing a Language'. Definitely has a lot of thought-provoking, refreshing ideas.

Any members of ACM or IEEE Computer Soc? (3, Informative)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486617)

I wonder how many IT gurus are members of ACM [acm.org] or IEEE Computer Society [computer.org] ? The % of /. members who are in ACM must be very small because ACM only has 75,000 members in total.

Re:Any members of ACM or IEEE Computer Soc? (5, Informative)

mscheid (318333) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486655)

ACM [acm.org] and IEEE [ieee.org] are just the places I would look for such papers. The proceedings of ACM SIGCOMM [acm.org] for example are a very good "filter" for the flood of papers on networking.

Re:Any members of ACM or IEEE Computer Soc? (1)

iion_tichy (643234) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486734)

Is it worth being a member? I've considered at times, but the only benefit seemed to be some journal, which I wasn't sure if it would be any good. Cheaper conferences, too, but since I am not making that much money, cheaper would probably still be too expensive.

Re:Any members of ACM or IEEE Computer Soc? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486819)

I am an ACM member and have found the digital library alone to be worth the price of membership. I have also discovered that my ACM membership lends me additional credibility, as it demonstrates a deeper commitment to the computing profession on my part than that of most people in the industry. As the limited ACM membership demonstrates, joining is not something that people do on a whim.

I think you'll find... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486626)

... that a majority of the great computer science papers have got a file extention ending in .c or .cpp.

Re:I think you'll find... (1)

offpath3 (604739) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486721)

This is absolutely not true. While code can give you a good idea of them implementation of something, that's really just the "how" of it. A good paper will discuss the "why". Too many people come into CS these days only for the programming and are shocked when they take their first theory class and realize that they need to know math and logic as well. There's so much more to CS than just the code.

Authors are dying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486627)

one such text from literary theory http://www.eiu.edu/~literary/4950/barthes.htm

In short, nothing is original, we are all just convergances of the ideas that went before us. The reader has more power (adds the meaning) than the author. Authors are dying.

Re:Authors are dying. (2, Interesting)

bj8rn (583532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486739)

There's another way of looking at this. In every sphere of culture (including science), there's a constant variation between explosive (revolutionary) and stable (evolutionary) development. In the phase of stable development, the ideas that came before are used, everything seems to be more anonymous; numerous writers and scientists may be known in their own circle, but forgotten quite soon. In the phase of explosion, revolutionary ideas are born and the Author, the genius is more important. So, the Author may be dying because there are no new ideas, but (s)he will rise again one day.

(ideas borrowed from Thomas Kuhn and Yuri Lotman)

Classic papers (5, Interesting)

thvv (92519) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486628)

"The UNIX Time-Sharing System," by Dennis Ritchie & Ken Thompson, is one of the best-written papers ever. The elegance of thought and economy of description set a standard we should all aspire to.
http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/cacm.ht ml

I list several more classics on my "Software Engineering Reading List" page at
http://www.multicians.org/thvv/swe-readings.ht ml

Re:Classic papers (1)

MessageFactory (709824) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486773)

Hey! Your link to Gray & Reuter "Transaction Processing" made me to remember this great link: Leslie Lamport's publications [microsoft.com] That link contains a lot of Lamport's publications (including TLA) It's pretty theoretical, but anyway those are quite interesting to read anyway.

Edsger Wybe Dijkstra (5, Insightful)

marsbarboy (625406) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486631)

What about the work of Edsger Dijkstra? His seminal work on 'The GOTO statement considered harmful', the Shortest Path Algorithm, and the dining philosophers.

Re:Edsger Wybe Dijkstra (3, Informative)

junklight (183583) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486643)

Dijkstra's archive is on line and is indeed fascinating from both an historical point of view and full of ideas as well. Check it out...

http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/

Re:Edsger Wybe Dijkstra (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486679)

Oh my god, so that's what NTKnow [ntk.net] 's headline "goto's considered non-harmful" is imitating. LOL!

Thanks!

GCH full text (2, Informative)

bigHairyDog (686475) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486783)

You have to register to get most papers from ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery who published "GOTO considered harmful"). However, the full text can be found free in their classics series [acm.org] .

Everybody should read this paper, then read Linus Torvalds et. al. discussing the matter on kernaltrap.org [kerneltrap.org]

A Linguistic Contribution to GOTO-less Programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486801)

There was a classic response to Dijkstra's GOTO article. It proposes the COME FROM statement, which has lately been reinvented in aspect-oriented programming [onjava.com] as the pointcut.

http://www.fortranlib.com/gotoless.htm [fortranlib.com]

Don't need that stuff anymore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486634)

Think about it. For a lot of stuff you do with computers, it doesn't matter how you implement a solution. Processor speed is faster and faster and many of the tasks haven't changed. So ignore the crufty old stuff about register twiddling and what not. Implement your solution in a clear and straight forward manner. Let the processor do the heavy lifting.

Massalin's PhD (1)

AtrN (87501) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486635)

On the Synthesis OS. Beautiful work.

There are so many good papers though. You just have to read them all :)

Don't read the originals (5, Interesting)

cperciva (102828) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486637)

If nobody reads those "great old papers" any more, there's probably a reason. Sometimes the ideas have been superceeded; sometimes they weren't any good to begin with; often the papers are simply really hard to understand. The fact that people seriously suggest reading "great papers" reflects on the immaturity of the field; in a field like mathematics, hardly anyone ever reads the original papers (even for work done in the 20th century), instead opting to read someone else's simplification/clarification of the ideas.

We speak of the TAoCP as "the bible", but I'm not sure if there are any "new" ideas there; rather, the value of TAoCP is as a compilation and exposition of all the best ideas other people have produced.

Learn about great algorithms; don't worry about reading great papers.

Re:Don't read the originals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486704)

The pionners creative process is the best thing a person can capture from these papers, not only ideas.

Surveys (2, Insightful)

davi_slashdot (653133) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486716)

Some of the most interesting papers are actually surveys. From there will get the overview, often in a easy to read text, and pointers to the seminal papers. You also will know which are the relevant publications.
Try browsing the ACM Surveys. I've read recently "A guided tour to approximate string matching". Quite good, and starting from there, I could get a good insight of the field.

Re:Don't read the originals (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486788)

People don't read those great old papers anymore in the same way they don't read Euripides or Shakespeare anymore. They're difficult.

Harlequin romance novels express the same ideas in much easier to read language.

I didn't first learn my Special Relativity from Einstein's original paper. I learned it from Bertrand Russell's The ABCs of Relativity, but you can be sure that I later went back and read a translation of the original paper as well (and even poked at the original a bit), as I've also read Bohr, Bohm, Feynman and Weinberg.

I've read The Blind Watchmaker and The Beak of the Finch. I've also read Darwin and Huxley.

I've read modern histories of the Roman Empire. I've also read Gibbon.

I've read C for Dummies. I've also read Kernighan & Ritchie.

No, it wasn't always easy. I didn't expect it to be easy, or even desirable for it to be easy, because I expected to learn.

Date is easier to read than Codd, but Codd is only hard until you understand the relational algebra. If you wish to be an expert in the field of databases understanding the relational algebra isn't really optional, no matter what your salary is.

I'm learing to read classical Greek so that I may read Euripides. I've read most of Shakespeare and I'm working on the rest. I've never read a Harliquin romance novel. Elizabeth Peters mysteries are pretty nifty though, if you're willing to read some good works on Egyptology to get the most out of them.

Your milage may vary, but I'll take the harder road and be better informed for it. You may settle for being a kind of craftsman/tradesman, I'm trying for scientist/artist and it puzzles me that most people in the computer field are functionally innumerate and desire that state of ignorance.

Are we not geeks?

No, I guess most of us are Devo.

I think that's a bit sad.

KFG

Great Computer Science Papers & /. readers (4, Interesting)

Multics (45254) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486644)

I ponder if we made a list of oh say 'n' of these if the typical /.er would read them.

I've taught computer science. Specifically Software Engineering where there is about a 1" thick stack of around 15 papers that get the whole idea. Wonderful works like "Goto Considered Harmful" (Communications of the ACM, 11, p147-148, 1968) come to mind. But I don't think there's much hope the typical /.er will take the time and effort to read them better yet think about them.

In the last couple of weeks /. as a culture came up as a lunch conversation between my co-workers and I. We came to the conclusion that the wild herd doesn't pay for stuff (Kazaa, Morphious, etc), is ADD (how many times have you read a posting where the poster hadn't read the link?) and generally thinks that education is mostly worthless (the bi-annual do I need a degree grudge match). Given these behaviors, why go through the effort of making a list?

If I were working this space (putting my teaching hat back on) I'd cover:

Computer Architecture (where all things come from)

Theory of Computing including O() [& friends], analysis of algs, Turing, etc.

Software Engineering

Software Testing

Graphics

Databases

Numerical Methods

Simulation (& Statistics)
and

Systems Analysis (where apparently all books currently suck)

I think that would be the place to start and there would be more than 10 or 20 of them.

-- Multics

Re:Great Computer Science Papers & /. readers (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486657)

Where they are very valuable is in establishing 'prior art'.

Re:Great Computer Science Papers & /. readers (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486674)

Typical slashdoter ???

You mean thoughs that make the most noize ? even if only 0.5% who read this site actualy take the time to lookup and follow leads that they are given here you could well reach far more people with a few choise words here than you do teaching :) ... so ...

chalange us: Try throw up a few links/titles

rather than a quick rundown of areas that we are "not" going to look at :)

Re:Great Computer Science Papers & /. readers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486684)

I'd love to see some good solid works on UI in there too.

UI not just as "how a GUI widget should work" but everything involving human/computer interaction, from really simple basics like "where to sit" up to any kind of abstract concept with regards to how a machine and a human can get information to/from each other most usefully

Re:Great Computer Science Papers & /. readers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486743)

That's so pointless. UI stuff is only useful for a subsection of the population, those who are TOO DAMNED STUPID TO USE A CONSOLE. Anyone worth their salt (who would be reading these papers) will know how to handle their way around without a UI.

Re:Great Computer Science Papers & /. readers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486812)

Dude, a console is a UI. Duh. At the time, it was a great advancement over teletypes.

Re:Great Computer Science Papers & /. readers (1)

geirhe (587392) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486697)

I ponder if we made a list of oh say 'n' of these if the typical /.er would read them. (...) But I don't think there's much hope the typical /.er will take the time and effort to read them better yet think about them.


I assume you would tell someone who asks for directions to somewhere that they would just get lost again, and then walk on?

You must be a very poor teacher. "I could tell you lots of stuff, but I won't bother, since most of you probably won't bother to learn this stuff."

To the point: I agree with other posters. It is probably not a very efficient way of going about it to read papers, especially ones that are more than two years old. Go buy some textbooks instead. Have you got a total and complete control of what happens in your "own" field? Then switch to another field. There are vastly different ways of going about things out there. I for one would love to work with more people that actually make an effort to update themselves, and that don't dig themselves into a very narrow trench called "java" or "web applications". I spend about $4000 a year on new books - very few of my coworkers seem to do the same, which is a pity.

Karma whoring link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486698)

Go To Statement Considered Harmful [acm.org] .

We ought at least to give Slashdot readers the chance to read these papers...

Re:Great Computer Science Papers & /. readers (5, Insightful)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486702)

I ponder if we made a list of oh say 'n' of these if the typical /.er would read them....
We came to the conclusion that the wild herd [on Slashdot]... generally thinks that education is mostly worthless....
If I were working this space (putting my teaching hat back on) I'd cover:....


So put your money (time is money) where your mouth is.

Seriously. Email one of the Slashdot editors, get a section called "Slashdot Tells", and post your first lecture, along with assigned reading.

Let the /. "wild herd" post questions and comments, and let them moderate up the ten or fifteen most important questions for your perusal.

Come back the next week, post your answers and your next lecture, and let those who can demonstrate mastery of your earlier lecture and the assigned reading go through the cycle again.

I'll take part in whatever you care to teach, and I'd wager you'd get a core group who would follow the lecture series through.

Use a free e-text (such as the MIT open courseware), or some GFDL book, as your text.

What's in it for you? Well, teaching is the best way to learn (or re-learn). Keeps the mind supple. Not to mention the satisfaction of passing on what you know.

And telling your collegues you've learned to herd cats.

Re:Great Computer Science Papers & /. readers (1)

Antity-H (535635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486828)

I second that.
I would love to see such a section go live.

Re:Great Computer Science Papers & /. readers (1)

Empiric (675968) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486708)

Is your analysis of /. as a generalized mass of mentally-deficient thieves, provided without any actual information, indicative of the general quality of your teaching?

If nothing else, maybe it clarifies the source of underlying conflict.

(YHBT?)

"since google has no answers".. (1)

arcanumas (646807) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486646)

if it's not on Google it does not exist.
uh....right?.

Re:"since google has no answers".. (1)

mog007 (677810) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486671)

Let's not be too quick to deitize Google, after all.. just because a page is linked to slashdot doesn't mean it'll get /.ed.

Re:"since google has no answers".. (2, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486836)

just because I'm bored "why not \." simple the backward slash is only used by the backward company microsoft. All true operating systems use the forward slash / it is easier to get to on the keyboard and makes life easier as it is now standard. now to see if anyone bites

Does anyone know where to get... (1)

Sivaram_Velauthapill (693619) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486647)

Does anyone know of a website where you can get access to comp sci and comp eng papers and stuff? I'm speaking as a normal person, as opposed to a student (ie. something free, doesn't require university resources, easy to access, etc). Searching on google is well, not my idea. I'm wondering if there is a central repository or something that tracks things. For example, let's say I want to read up on AI, where do I go? There are places like this for other stuff (eg. physics, astronomy, medicine, etc) but haven't found anything for computer stuff... Of course, there are tons of sites for practical stuff but I'm thinking more of theoretical future stuff.

Thanks!

Sivaram Velauthapillai

Re:Does anyone know where to get... (2, Informative)

Dr_Java (689552) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486663)

Try http://citeseer.org/ [citeseer.org] Helped me out with many CS papers whilst writing up my thesis.

Re:Does anyone know where to get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486682)

I fear citeseer may be getting too popular... last week I kept getting a 'system busy' page from citeseer, especially during European afternoon when the US east cost is starting work. I hope NEC has the will and the money to keep up with their bandwidth costs.

Re:Does anyone know where to get... (5, Informative)

hweimer (709734) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486700)

Does anyone know of a website where you can get access to comp sci and comp eng papers and stuff?

Try looking at arxiv.org [arxiv.org] and CiteSeer [nec.com] .

Re:Does anyone know where to get... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486710)

for AI specifically, with patience some great links can be culled from the lists at:

the American Association for AI [aaai.org]

Re:Does anyone know where to get... (1)

Falkkin (97268) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486728)

One good resource for finding full-text computer science papers is CiteSeer (http://citeseer.nj.nec.com). CiteSeer is great in that it incorporates something like Google's PageRank -- works are sorted by the number of times each is cited. Since the earliest / most significant papers in a field are the most likely to be widely cited, this is a great way to get an idea of the most important recent papers in a field. One caveat is that CiteSeer does have more publications of recent work than older stuff. Sorry to say it, since you explicitly mentioned not requiring univeristy resources, but if you're looking for great publications from the 50's or 60's you're still probably best off looking through the Journal of the ACM.

One fairly good idea is to find out the basic ideas of the field first from a textbook, then search for the seminal papers in this field. For instance, a quick scan of any recent machine learning book would probably give you at least a baic understanding of things like neural nets, decision trees, Bayes nets, Gaussian mixture models, Expectation Maximization, Q-Learning, K-Means, K-Nearest Neighbor, ....

I'd not try looking for "computer science papers" until you had a relatively small subset of computer science you want to look at in depth. Once you figure out that subset, it should be a simple matter to find the papers you want -- get the names of the people who started the field, search for their home pages (since computer science is a very young field, most of them are still alive, and most have home pages with full lists of publications), search for their names on CiteSeer, and (if you want to go further in depth) search for people who cited the seminal papers -- this will get you some links more in-depth analysis and criticism of their work.

It terms of "theoretical future stuff"... well, find some papers written in the last year or two, and take a look at the "future work" section. :)

Re:Does anyone know where to get... (1)

goodbye_kitty (692309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486847)

Usually a quick google search on authors name will give you a page of their publications in PDF or PS format.

Even if some papers are only available through paid membership to organisations such as IEEE or ACM, if you know the author name you can usually find similar work on the authors paper website.

The good thing about academic papers is that once you find one paper thats in the general area you are interested in you can just follow the reference trails to find virtually every other paper on the subject (e.g. you have paper 1, its has 15 references, you look up all the references that sound interesting, then look up the references that those references reference...and so on).

Re:Does anyone know where to get... (1)

goodbye_kitty (692309) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486856)

and by the term "paper website" i do of course mean the website listing an authors publications (papers)...not a print-out of their homepage.

Re:Does anyone know where to get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486854)

A good resource is the library, especially a university library. They'll often have copies of the paper journals, as well as the electronic indexes like INSPEC, and access to Web sites like the ACM's. In many cases, you don't need to be a student to just go in and look something up, although you generally can't check anything out. At least where I live, you can buy a library card, but it's a bit pricey.

OB: Potty Humor (-1, Troll)

beacher (82033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486648)

Whenever I'm feeling constipated, I read this paper on .NET [microsoft.com] .. Whenever I'm running low on toilet paper, the Atlanta Urinal and Constipation [ajc.com] ...
Yeah I'm out of the academia loop and don't read too much published works aside from whatever gets noticed here...
-B

Euclid's Elements of programming languages... (4, Informative)

acidblood (247709) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486650)

McCarthy's paper on Lisp: Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and Their Computation by Machine (Part I) [stanford.edu] .

For a refreshing analysis of the paper by Lisp guru Paul Graham (the same guy who proposed the idea of Bayesian anti-spam filtering), see The Roots of Lisp [paulgraham.com] .

Re:Euclid's Elements of programming languages... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486791)

For a refreshing analysis of the paper by Lisp guru Paul Graham (the same guy who proposed the idea of Bayesian anti-spam filtering), see The Roots of Lisp.

Interesting indeed, but the man's Lisp-centricity does lead to a few unwarranted generalisations - for example, "he fact that it has [a semantic core] is one of Lisp's distinguishing features, and the reason why, unlike other languages, Lisp has dialects."

Only Lisp has dialects? Damn, what shall I call SML and Caml now that ML has been disqualified from having dialects? What about the many variants of Pascal - not dialects?

(Posted anonymously because I suspect I might be missing his point, and I really am a coward.)

Old Research and Patents - A True and Recent Story (5, Insightful)

ljavelin (41345) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486658)

You betcha. There has been a lot of research over the past 50 years, and much of it ignored - especially research that isn't in English.

A lot of old research is interesting in terms of Patent law. A lot of this research can be used to invalidate patent cliaims - prior art. An idea published 30 years ago simply cannot be legitimately patented now.

Very recently my Dad told me about a new patent assigned to one of his competitors. But my Dad claimed that his colleauge didn't patent that very idea in the 1970s because my dad knew of prior art - my dad had heard a researcher from Germany talk about the same thing at a small conference.

Given prior art, my Dad and his colleauge didn't apply for patent back then. But 35 years later, a company patented the idea. My Dad was pretty pissed!

So Dad and I shlogged through tons of (paper) documents and LoC and other resources trying to help him remember who the speaker was and where the conference was held. After a few weeks of digging, we got a copy of the (hard to locate) conference proceedings, and now that brand new patent looks like it's toast.

Now here's the rub - the only reason why this patent was invalidated was because my dad is still in the industry - and he's well over retirement age. Everyone else my Dad works with thought the patent would toast them. Only my dad, and old researcher with a good memory, could help his company overcome the (invalid) patent. What if my dad was retired? What if he didn't attend that talk in the 1970s? Most people simply wouldn't have known where to look for the prior art. [And not every call for prior art is suitable for Slashdot.]

Old research and old researchers are good - not only for disposing of "new" patents, but for the value of the efforts and lessons learned. So much is forgotten.

Re:Old Research and Patents - A True and Recent St (1, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486692)

Yes, but does he know Visual WhizBang 1.0 and MoreXtremeThanYou Programming?

Ivan Sutherland's 1960's VR papers (1)

prestwich (123353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486661)

These are fairly good papers and a good example of an idea 30 years ahead of useful technology.
A stereoscopic display mounted on an enormous ceiling mount (rather like an upside down anglepoise lamp) with crude wire frame graphics - this is VR 1968 style.

Sutherland, Ivan E.: 'The ultime display' 1965
Sutherland, Ivan E.: 'A head-mounted three dimensional display'

Not exactly computer science... (4, Informative)

acidblood (247709) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486664)

...but Claude E. Shannon's paper, A Mathematical Theory of Communication [bell-labs.com] has changed our outlook on information and communication. The importance of this paper on modern communication cannot be stressed enough, and it is very readable. If I had 10 papers to take to a desert island, surely this one would be on my list (:

Re:Not exactly computer science... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486792)

If I had 10 papers to take to a desert island, surely this one would be on my list

I'd go for pure volume on those papers - desert islands are probably short on toilet paper.

Re:Not exactly computer science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486807)

I hope the other 9 papers are toilet paper and pornography, otherwise you might be clinically insane.

Best Choices: Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486665)

These great works of human thought will be loved by all for countless generations...

Re:Best Choices: Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486757)

chimp.

E.W. Dijkstra Archives (3, Informative)

acidblood (247709) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486675)

This has been reported in Slashdot a while ago, but it deserves another mention: the manuscripts of Edsger W. Dijkstra [utexas.edu] . There are more than a thousand documents written by Dijkstra in this archive, and very interesting ones too -- careful or you'll lose days browsing it like I did.

Quantum Computation (2, Informative)

acidblood (247709) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486683)

While not exactly classic papers, some of these may be regarded as classic by our grandchildren when the time comes, since they're at the forefront of computer science's research today. A good introduction to quantum computing was recently linked in a Slashdot story posting: The Centre for Quantum Computation's Tutorials [qubit.org] . Very, very interesting reading, if a bit advanced.

You want the Technomanifestos! (5, Interesting)

A. Brate (588407) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486685)

This is shameless self-promotion, but you should read my book [amazon.com] !

Technomanifestos discusses the truly thought-provoking, inspirational, seminal computer papers of the 20th century [technomanifestos.net] , from Turing's "On Computable Numbers" and "Computing Machinery and Intelligence", to Alan Kay's "Personal Dynamic Media" to Larry Wall's States of the Perl Onion.

The book delves into the historical, biographical, and scientific context of works such as these and follows the thread of inspiration to today's world. If you want to know where the Internet germinated, or how Marshall McLuhan and Pierre de Chardin influenced the World Wide Web (or even who McLuhan and de Chardin are!) you should pick up my book. And then read it.

Technomanifestos tracks the evolution of the MIT hacker, from the dapper Boston Brahmin Vannevar Bush to the famously unkempt Richard Stallman, and introduces the cast of lesser-known (to the non-Slashdot world) but crucially inventive individuals such as Ivan Sutherland and Seymour Papert.

Moreover, it discusses how the truly great computing ideas come from people who recognize that technology, especially information technology, has the power to transform people and society--these are (in the words of similarly great books) tools for thought [amazon.com] and dream machines [amazon.com] .

Or if you have no interest in helping me pay my DSL bill, you can go straight to the sources [technomanifestos.net] , many of which are available online.

Citeseer (3, Informative)

p-p-pom (716823) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486688)

Citeseer was cited in the blurb, but a really nice service that they provide is the Computer Science Directory [nec.com] . There you can look for papers sorted by domain, and ranked by several criteria like "authority". The top papers are usually a good read if you are interested in a particular domain.

Tarjan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486689)

Many papers by Robert E. Tarjan are classics. His small book "Data Structures and Network Algorithms" (1983) is also a classic. It shows how to present theoretical material accurately without introducing cumbersome formalisms that hamper readability.

Old papers, Old Ike (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486705)

When I think of dirty old men, I think of Ike Thomas and when I think about Ike I get a hard-on that won't quit.

Sixty years ago, I worked in what was once my Grandfather's Greenhouses. Gramps had died a year earlier and Grandma, now in her seventies had been forced to sell to the competition. I got a job with the new owners and mostly worked the range by myself. That summer, they hired a man to help me get the benches ready for the fall planting.

Ike always looked like he was three days from a shave and his whiskers were dirty white, shaded by the brim of his battered felt fedora.

He did not chew tobacco but the corners of his mouth turned down in a way that, at any moment, I expected a trickle of thin, brown juice to creep down his chin. His bushy, brown eyebrows shaded pale, gray eyes.

The old-timer extended his hand, lifted his leg like a dog about to mark a bush and let go the loudest fart I ever heard. The old fellow then winked at me, "Ike Thomas is the name and playing pecker's my game."

I thought he said, "Checkers." I was nineteen, green as grass. I said, "I was never much good at that game."

"Now me," said Ike, "I just love jumping men . . ."

"I'll bet you do."

". . . and grabbing on to their peckers," said Ike.

"I though we were talking about . . ."

"You like jumping old men's peckers?"

I shook my head.

"I reckon we'll have to remedy that." Ike lifted his right leg and let go another tremendous fart. "He said, "We best be getting to work."

That summer of 1941 was a more innocent time. I learned most of the sex I knew from those little eight pager cartoon booklets of comic-page characters going at it. Young men read them in the privacy of an outside john, played with themselves, by themselves and didn't brag about it. Sometimes, we got off with a trusted friend and helped each other out.

Under the greenhouse glass, the temperature sometimes climbed over the hundred degree mark. I had worked stripped to the waist since April and was as brown as a berry. On only his second day on the job and in the middle of August, Ike wore old fashioned overalls. Those and socks in his high-top work shoes was every stitch he wore. When he bent forward, the bib front billowed out and I could see the white curly hairs on his chest and belly.

"Me? I just love to eat pussy!" Ike licked his lips from corner to corner then sticking his tongue out far enough that the tip could touch the end of his nose. He said, A man's not a man till he knows first hand, the flavor of a lady's pussy."

"People do that?"

He winked. "Of course the taste of a hard cock ain't to be sneezed at neither. Now you answer me, yes or no. Does a man's cock taste salty or not?"

"I never . . ."

"Well, old Ike's willing to let you find out."

"No way."

"Just teasing," said Ike. "But don't give me no sass or I'll show you my ass." He winked. "Might show it to you anyway, if you was to ask."

"Why would I do that?"

"Curiosity, maybe. I'm guessing you never had a good piece of man ass."

"I'm no queer."

"Now don't be getting judgmental. Enjoying what's at hand ain't being queer. It's taking pleasure where you find it with anybody willing." Ike slipped a hand into the side slit of his overalls and I could tell he was fondling and straightening out his cock. "Now I admit I got me a hole that satisfied a few guys."

I swallowed, hard.

Ike winked. "Care to be asshole buddies?"

***

We worked steadily until noon. Ike drew a worn pocket watch from the bib pocket of his loose overalls and croaked, "Bean time. But first its time to reel out our limber hoses and make with the golden arches before lunch."

I followed Ike to the end of the greenhouse where he stopped at the outside wall of the potting shed. He opened his fly, fished inside, and finger-hooked a soft white penis with a pouting foreskin puckered half an inch past the hidden head.

"Yes sir," breathed Ike, "this old peter needs some draining." He exhaled a sigh as a strong, yellow stream splattered against the boards and ran down to soak into the earthen floor.

He caught me looking down at him. He winked. "Like what you're viewing, Boy?"

I looked away.

"You taking a serious interest in old Ike's pecker?"

I shook my head.

"Well you just haul out yourn and let old Ike return the compliment."

Feeling trapped and really having to go, I fumbled at my fly, turned away slightly, withdrew my penis and strained to start.

"Take your time boy. Let it all hang out. Old Ike's the first to admit that he likes looking at another man's pecker." He flicked away the last drop of urine and shook his limp penis vigorously.

I tried not to look interested.

"Yes sir, this old peepee feels so good out, I just might leave it out." He turned to give me a better view.

"What if somebody walks in?"

Ike shrugged. He looked at my strong yellow stream beating against the boards and moved a step closer. "You got a nice one,boy."

I glanced over at him. His cock was definitely larger and beginning to stick straight out. I nodded toward his crotch. "Don't you think you should put that away?"

"I got me strictly a parlor prick," said Ike. "Barely measures six inches." He grinned. "Of course it's big enough around to make a mouthful." He ran a thumb and forefinger along its length and drawing his foreskin back enough to expose the tip of the pink head. "Yersiree." He grinned, revealing nicotine stained teeth. "It sure feels good, letting the old boy breathe."

I knew I should button up and move away. I watched his fingers moving up and down the thickening column.

"You like checking out this old man's cock?"

I nodded. In spite of myself, my cock began to swell.

"Maybe we should have ourselves a little pecker pulling party." Ike slid his fingers back and forth on his expanding shaft and winked. "I may be old but I'm not against doing some little pud pulling with a friend."

I shook my head.

"Maybe I'll give my balls some air. Would you like a viewing of old Ike's hairy balls?"

I swallowed hard and moistened my dry lips.

He opened another button on his fly and pulled out his scrotum. "Good God, It feels good to set 'em free. Now let's see yours."

"Why?"

"Just to show you're neighborly," said Ike.

"I don't think so." I buttoned up and moved into the potting shed.

Ike followed, his cock and balls protruding from the front of his overalls. "Overlook my informality." Ike grinned. "As you can see I ain't bashful."

I nodded and took my sandwich from the brown paper bag.

"Yessir," said Ike. "I just might have to have myself an old fashioned peter pulling all by my lonesome. He unhooked a shoulder strap and let his overalls drop around his ankles.

I took a bite of my sandwich but my eyes remained on Ike.

"Yessiree," said Ike, "I got a good one if I do say so myself. Gets nearly as hard as when I was eighteen. You know why?"

I shook my head.

"Cause I keep exercising him. When I was younger I was pulling on it three time a day. Still like to do him every day I can."

"Some say you'll go blind if you do that too much."

"Bull-loney!" Don't you believe that shit. I been pulling my pud for close to fifty years and I didn't start till I was fifteen."

I laughed.

"You laughing at my little peter, boy?"

"Your hat." I pointed to the soiled, brown fedora cocked on his head. That and his overalls draped about his ankles were his only items of apparel. In between was a chest full of gray curly hair, two hairy legs. Smack between them stood an erect, pale white cock with a tip of foreskin still hiding the head.

"I am one hairy S.O.B.," said Ike.

"I laughed at you wearing nothing but a hat."

"Covers up my bald spot," said Ike. "I got more hair on my ass than I got on my head. Want to see?"

"Your head?"

"No, Boy, my hairy ass and around my tight, brown asshole." He turned, reached back with both hands and parted his ass cheeks to reveal the small, puckered opening. "There it is, Boy, the entrance lots of good feelings. Tell me, Boy, how would you like to put it up old Ike's ass?"

"I don't think so."

"That'd be the best damned piece you ever got."

"We shouldn't be talking like this."

"C'mon now, confess, don't this make your cock perk up a little bit?"

"I reckon," I confessed.

"You ever seen an old man's hard cock before," asked Ike.

"My grandpa's when I was twelve or thirteen."

"How'd that come about?"

He was out in the barn and didn't know I was around. He dropped his pants. It was real big he did things to it. He saw me and he turned around real fast but I saw it."

"What did your grandpa do?"

"He said I shouldn't be watching him doing that. He said something like grandma wouldn't give him some,' that morning and that I should get out of there and leave a poor man in peace to do what he had to do."

"Did you want to join him."

"I might have if he'd asked. He didn't."

"I like showing off my cock," said Ike. "A hard-on is something I always been proud of. A hard-on proves a man's a man. Makes me feel like a man that can do things." He looked up at me and winked. "You getting a hard-on from all this talk, son?"

I nodded and looked away.

"Then maybe you should pull it out and show old Ike what you got."

"We shouldn't."

"Hey. A man's not a man till he jacked off with a buddy."

I wanted to but I was as nervous as hell.

Ike grinned and fingered his pecker. "C'mon, Boy, between friends, a little cock showing is perfectly fine. Lets see what you got in the cock and balls department."

In spite of my reluctance, I felt the stirring in my crotch. I had curiosity that needed satisfying. It had been a long, long time since I had walked in on my grandfather .

"C'mon let's see it all."

I shook my head.

"You can join the party anytime, said Ike. "Just drop your pants and pump away."

I had the urge. There was a tingling in my crotch. My cock was definitely willing and I had a terrible need to adjust myself down there. But my timidity and the strangeness of it all held me back.

Hope you don't mind if I play out this hand." Ike grinned. "It feels like I got a winner."

I stared at his gnarled hand sliding up and down that pale, white column and I could not look away. I wet my lips and shook my head.

Old Ike's about to spout a geyser." Ike breathed harder as he winked. "Now if I just had a long finger up my ass. You interested, boy?"

I shook my head.

The first, translucent, white glob crested the top of his cock and and arced to the dirt floor. Ike held his cock at the base with thumb and forefinger and tightened noticeably with each throb of ejaculation until he was finished.

I could not believe any man could do what he had done in front of another human being.

Ike sighed with pleasure and licked his fingers. "A man ain't a man till he's tasted his own juices."

He squatted, turned on the faucet and picked up the connected hose. He directed the water between his legs and on to his still dripping prick and milked the few remaining drops of white, sticky stuff into the puddle forming at his feet. "Cool water sure feels good on a cock that just shot its wad," said Ike.

***

"Cock-tale telling time," said Old Ike. It was the next day and he rubbed the front of his dirty,worn overalls where his bulge made the fly expand as his fingers smoothed the denim around the outline of his expanding cock.

I wasn't sure what he had in mind but I knew it wasn't something my straight-laced Grandma would approve of.

"Don't you like taking your cock out and jacking it?" Ike licked his lips.

I shook my head in denial.

"Sure you do. A young man in his prime has got to be pulling his pud."

I stared at his calloused hand moving over the growing bulge at his crotch.

"Like I said," continued Ike, "I got me barely six inches when he's standing up." He winked at me. "How much you got, son?"

"Almost seven inches . . ." I stuttered. "Last time I measured."

"And I'm betting it feels real good with your fist wrapped around it."

"I don't do . . ."

"Everybody does it." He scratched his balls and said,"I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Then, looking me in the eye, he lifted his leg like a dog at a tree and let out a long, noisy fart.

Denying that I jacked off, I said, "I saw yours yesterday."

"A man has got to take out his pecker every once in a while." He winked and his fingers played with a button on his fly. Care to join me today?"

"I don't think so."

"What's the matter, boy? You ashamed of what's hanging 'tween your skinny legs?"

"It's not for showing off."

"That would be so with a crowd of strangers but with a friend, in a friendly showdown, where's the harm?

"It shouldn't be shown to other people. My Grandma said that a long time ago when I went to the bathroom against a tree when I was seven.

"There's nothing like a joint pulling among friends to seal a friendship," said Ike.

I don't think so." I felt very much, ill at ease.

"Then what the fuck is it for," demanded the old man. "A good man shares his cock with his friends. How old are you boy?"

"Nineteen almost twenty."

You ever fucked a woman?"

"No."

"Ever fucked a man?"

"Of course not.

"Son, you ain't never lived till you've fired your load up a man's tight ass."

"I didn't know men did that to each other."

"Men shove it up men's asses men all the time. They just don't talk about it like they do pussy."

"You've done that?"

"I admit this old pecker's been up a few manholes. More than a few hard cocks have shagged this old ass over the years." He shook his head, wistfully, "I still have a hankering for a hard one up the old dirt chute."

"I think that would hurt."

"First time, it usually does," agreed Ike. He took a bite from his sandwich.

I looked at my watch. Ten minutes of our lunch hour had already passed.

"We got time for a quickie," said Ike. "There's no one around to say, stop, if were enjoying ourselves."

He unhooked the slide off the button of one shoulder-strap, pushed the bib of his overalls down to let them fall to his feet.

"Showtime," said Ike. Between his legs, white and hairy, his semi-hard cock emerged from a tangled mass of brown and gray pubic hair. The foreskin, still puckered beyond the head of the cock, extended downward forty-five degrees from the horizontal but was definitely on the rise.

I could only stare at the man. Until the day before, I had never seen an older man with an erection besides my grandpa.

Ike moved his fingers along the stalk of his manhood until the head partially emerged, purplish and broad. He removed his hand for a moment and it bobbled obscenely in the subdued light of the potting shed. Ike leaned back against a bin of clay pots like a model on display. "Like I said, boy, it gets the job done."

I found it difficult not to watch. "You shouldn't . . ."

"C'mon, boy. Show Ike your pecker. I'm betting it's nice and hard."

I grasped my belt and tugged on the open end. I slipped the waistband button and two more before pushing down my blue jeans and shorts down in one move. My cock bounced and slapped my belly as I straightened."

"That's a beaut." Ike stroked his pale, white cock with the purplish-pink head shining. "I'm betting it'll grow some more if you stroke it."

"We really shouldn't . . ."

"Now don't tell me you never stroked your hard peter with a buddy."

"I've done that," I finally admitted,. "But he was the same age as me and it was a long time ago." I though back to the last time Chuck and me jerked each other off in the loft of our old barn. Chuck wanted more as a going away present and we had sucked each other's dicks a little bit.

"Jackin's always better when you do it with somebody," said Ike. "Then you can lend each other a helping hand."

"I don't know about that," I said.

Ike's hand continued moving on his old cock as he leaned over to inspect mine. "God Damn! Boy. That cock looks good enough to eat." Ike licked his lips. "You ever had that baby sucked?"

I shook my head as I watched the old man stroke his hard, pale cock.

"Well boy, I'd say you're packing a real mouthful for some lucky gal or guy." He grinned. "Well c'mon. Let's see you get down to some serious jacking. Old Ike's way ahead of you."

I wrapped my fist around my stiff cock and moved the foreskin up and over the head on the up stroke. On the down stroke the expanded corona of the angry, purple head stared obscenely at the naked old man.

Ike toyed with his modest six inches. "What do you think of this old man's cock?" His fist rode down to his balls and a cockhead smaller than the barrel stared back at mine.

"I guess I'm thinking this is like doing it with my grandpa."

"You ever wish you could a done this with your grandpa?"

"I thought about it a lot."

"Ever see him with a hard-on."

"I told you about that!"

"Ever think about him doing your grandma?"

"I can't imagine her ever doing anything with a man.

"Take my word for it, sonny, we know she did it or you wouldn't be here." Begrudgingly I nodded in agreement.

"Everybody fucks," said old Ike. "They fuck or they jack off."

"If you say so."

"Say sonny, your cocks getting real juicy with slickum. Want old Ike to lick some of it away?"

"You wouldn't."

Ike licked his lips as he kept his hand pistoning up and down his hard cock. "You might be surprised what old Ike might do if he was in the mood for a taste of what comes out of a hard cock."

And that is what he proceeded to do. He sucked me dry.

Then he erupted in half-a-dozen spurts shooting out and onto the dirt floor of the potting shed. He gave his cock a flip and shucked t back into his overalls. He unwrapped a sandwich from its wax paper and proceed to eat without washing his hands. He took a bite and chewed. "Nothing like it boy, a good jacking clears the cobwebs from your crotch and gives a man an appetite."

***

The following day, We skipped the preliminaries. We dropped our pants. Ike got down on his knees and sucked me until I was hard and good and wet before he stood and turned.

"C'mon boy, Shove that pretty cock up old Ike's tight, brown hole and massage old Ike's prostate.

Ike bent forward and gripped the edge of the potting bench. The lean, white cheeked buttocks parted slightly and exposed the dark brown, crinkly, puckered star of his asshole "Now you go slow and ease it along until you've got it all the way in," he cautioned. "This old ass craves your young cock but it don't want too much too soon. You've got to let this old hole stretch to accommodate you."

"Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Easy boy, easy," he cautioned. "You feel a lot bigger than you look. Put a little more spit in your cock."

"It's awfully tight. I don't know if it's going to go or not."

"It'll go," said Ike. "There's been bigger boys than you up the old shit chute."

I slipped in the the last few inches.. "It's all in."

"I can tell," said Ike. "Your cock hairs are tickling my ass."

"Are you ready," I asked.

"How are you liking old Ike's hairy asshole so far?"

"It's real tight."

"Tighter than your fist?"

"Might be."

"Ready to throw a fuck into a man that reminds you of your grandpa."

"I reckon."

"I want you should do old Ike one more favor."

"What?"

While you're pumpin' my ass, would you reach around and play with my dick like you would your own? Would you do that for an old man?"

I reached around and took hold of his hard cock sticking out straight in front of him. I pilled the skin back and then pulled it up and over the expanded glans. I felt my own cock expand inside him as I manipulated his staff in my fingers. I imagined that my cock extended through him and I was playing with what came out the other side of him.

"C'mon, boy, ram that big cock up the old shitter and make me know it. God Damn! tickle that old prostate and make old Ike come!"

I came. And I came. Ike's tightened up on my cock and I throbbed Roman Candle bursts into that brown hole as I pressed into him. His hairy, scrawny ass flattened against my crotch and we were joined as tightly as two humans can be.

"A man's not a man till he's cum in another man." said old Ike. "You made it, boy. But still, a man's not a man till he's had a hard cock poked up his ass at least once."

Every time I think of that scene, I get another hard-on. Then I remember the next day when old Ike returned the favor.

I never have managed to come that hard again. If only Ike were here.

Can Programming B Liberated from the Von-Neumann.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486707)

John Backus is often regarded as one of the greatest computer scientists ever to live - I personally like his denouncing of procedural languages in favour of a new functional approach.

John Backus - Can Programming Be Liberated From The Von-Neumann Style? [acm.org]

Important information about Niggers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486711)

Most postal employees are lazy, illiterate, low-life niggers. Half of them are buzzed out on drugs at any given moment. If they weren't working for the Post Office, they'd all be in prison or potter's field.

We hate nigggers.

ACM Classics of the Month (4, Informative)

acidblood (247709) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486720)

Though it has very few entries, and is no longer updated, there are at least two papers in that list that the typical Slashdotter may have heard about: Go To Statement Considered Harmful [acm.org] , by Dijkstra, and Reflections on Trusting Trust [acm.org] , by Ken Thompson.

The remaining ACM Classics of the Month are here [acm.org] .

I think Alan Kay would agree (3, Insightful)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486726)

I think Alan Kay would agree that not all CS papers of a worthy read are in CS..

Information Theory was certainly not in CS when it was orginally written in the 1940s..instead it was in Telcommunications and Mathematics :)

Basically the areas you shoudl be looking at are:

Logic
Philosphy
Mathematics
Physics
Bilogy
Chemistry

For example the concept of meta data.. ie data that has diferent menains based on context is common in all these areas and has direct applicatiosn to CS! Some of the current concepts of Semantic web are from this area and started in Language studies..:)

Rmember the old adage of the crusty old CS professor that CS is multidisplinary still applies! :)

Fred Grott
ShareMeTechnologies-The Mobile Future
http://www.jroller.com/page/shareme/Weblog
#11: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's tagline.

Introducing the Tele-Muddies! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486731)

Now, finally, at last! Tele Tubbies for Mud People!
  • Stinky Chinky
  • Niggy Wiggy
  • Icky Spicky
  • Hebey Jebey
  • Spooky Gooky
This new ``Muddy Buddy'' lineup is sure to thrill race mixers and miscegenationists everywhere! Time is running out. Get them before they're ``cleansed''.

CSP (1)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486732)

My own personal recommendation would be the original book on CSP [usingcsp.com] (it is an expanded paper essentially), an idea that is well worth-while, and also look at some of the [kent.ac.uk] useful applications [kent.ac.uk]

UNIX paper (1)

acidblood (247709) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486735)

I'm not sure if academics consider it a classic, but many will be interested in reading about the beginnings of UNIX: The UNIX Time-Sharing System [regehr.org] , by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson.

Don Knuth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486744)

Some of Knuths papers - a refutation of Dijkstra's 'GOTOs considered harmful'; and Literate Programming are interesting.

Stalking the Wily Hacker, and a Question (1)

Brown Line (542536) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486749)

Since it hasn't been mentioned before, Clifford Stoll's paper "Stalking the Wily Hacker" (CACM 1988:31:484-497) is a classic that should be included in any list of influential papers.

That being said, here's a question: has anyone published an anthology of classic CS papers? I'd love to have in one volume examples of the classic work by Von Neumann, Turing, Ritchie, and the rest of the gang. Has such an anthology been published? If so, I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

Re:Stalking the Wily Hacker, and a Question (1)

4A6F656C (530559) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486841)

I've not long finished reading "The Cuckoo's Egg" by Clifford Stoll. Whilst it isn't exactly a technical computing book, it is a fantastic read - one of those books that you just want to keep reading and do not want to put down.

Stoll is a brilliant author and the content is easy to absorb, certainly well written for those who do not have a technical background. His thought process is amazing and his level of determination is increadible. If you want to find out how to catch a cracker, this is simply a must read...

Classic paper on security (2, Informative)

brentlaminack (513462) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486754)

Reference: Jerome H. Saltzer, and Michael D. Schroeder. The Protection of Information in Computer Systems. (invited tutorial paper) Proceedings of the IEEE 63, 9 (September 1975) pages 1278-1308. Reprinted in David D. Clark and David D. Redell, editors. Protection of Information in Computer Systems. IEEE 1975 CompCon tutorial. IEEE # 75CH1050-4. Also reprinted in Rein Turn, editor. Advances in Computer System Security. ArTech House, Dedham, MA, 1981, pages 105-135. ISBN 0-89006-096-7 Also reprinted in Marvin S. Levin, Steven B. Lipner, and Paul A. Karger. Protecting Data & Information: A Workshop in Computer & Data Security. Digital Equipment Corporation, 1982. This paper was originally prepared off-line. In 1997, Norman Hardy kindly rendered it into World-Wide Web form. here [mit.edu]

Why should I? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486762)

Computer "science" is still a monopoly "science". I dare say that 99.9% of all computer "science" books are and will be a waste of paper as soon as computer "science" stops being a monopoly "science".

The only books left will be about programing in C (Kernel, Modules, porting from other (closed source) languages to C) and how to use the Unix (Linux) console for more efficiency (see Cygwin for Windows or the new Longhorn "console").

Now mod me down and let time proove you wrong. Good night!

Re:Why should I? (1)

offpath3 (604739) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486830)

Forgive me for asking, but what is a "monopoly science"?

Re:Why should I? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486850)

It means that many people call things computer science when it is in fact a bloated manual for a Microsoft product.

Some seminal works in the evolution of TCP/IP (3, Informative)

jazzbotley (581155) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486766)

Here are three. Not the top three, not the only three, but definitely an important three. Maybe someone else will have better luck tracking down a link to Mogul's paper.

Donald E. Knuth (5, Interesting)

roffe (26714) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486771)

Donald Knuth has written a lot of interesting papers, but his paper on TeXs line-breaking algoritm

  • Defines the state of the art in digital typesetting
  • Is a textbook example of how a scientific paper should be written: it outlines the history of the problem, gives historical and current examples, defines the problem statement and discusses the suggested solution.

and as far as I know, the algoritm is still state of the art and is used only by TeX, InDesign and an addition to QuarkXPress.

Re:Donald E. Knuth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486857)

I believe this algorithm is also used in groff.

Some suggestions (2, Informative)

offpath3 (604739) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486775)

If you want a mind bender, there is always On the Duality of Operating System Structures [stanford.edu] . But if you want something a little more practical, I'd recommend Eliminating Receive Livelock in an Interrupt-Driven Kernel [stanford.edu] or The End to End Argument in System Design [stanford.edu] .

some pointers... (1)

penguin7of9 (697383) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486781)

Many "classic" papers are reissued in "Readings In..." volumes--check on Amazon for your favorite subject area. Also, Citeseer ranks papers by popularity; that's not necessarily an indication of either quality or significance, but it is another measure of interest. Then, ask your colleagues, friends, professors, fellow students for recommendations.

You can also do some digital archaeology: a lot of decades-old ideas are embodied in software you can download. You can get copies of MIT's ITS, TENEX, Smalltalk-80, PDP-11 UNIX, and run them on emulators. In particular, Alan Kay's own Smalltalk-80 system is available as part of Squeak (squeak.org): running it will show you both what Smalltalk-80 was and what it wasn't.

Keep in mind that often, the mere existence of prior art won't convince people. For example, much of the stuff Microsoft and Apple's PR departments are claiming as "new technology" is ideas that people explored and abandoned decades ago. Some of it may well be worth reviving (given that we have faster processors), but that doesn't make it original or innovative. And in some cases, you get the idea that the developers themselves just don't know of the history of their (fairly obvious) idea.

FYI - try CiteSeer instead of Google (5, Informative)

skaya (71294) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486789)

As a PhD student, I often have to look for papers in the computer science field ; and very often, CiteSeer yields better results - or, rather, different results, but with a very good cross-referencing system. You can directly jump to the other papers cited by the paper you're reading, and you can see which papers did cite it, too.

The URL : [nec.com]
http://citeseer.nj.nec.com/cs

That said, I often find very interesting ideas in scientific papers, but sometimes things can't be implemented with current technology (I'm still talking about computer science domain, since that's what I know), or sometimes, the good idea in the paper is obsoleted a few years later.

For instance, I remember a scheduling algorithm to read disk blocks in a Video-On-Demand server : it was maybe very clever when it was written, when they had to feed 155 Mbps with a computer having 16 MB of RAM, but today, you have maybe 10 times more throughput, but 100 times more RAM - so you can use simpler, memory-hungry, buffering methods.

The problem is, that it's difficult (IMHO) to say "OK, this paper is theoretically interesting, but we can't implement this today, BUT we will probably be able to do it in a few (dozen) years", because you don't know what will and won't evolve (in my previous example, it was easy to predict that network bandwidth and memory size would increase, but it was maybe harder to guess that MPEG4 and DivX would allow the bitrate of a video stream to stay low...)

I wonder... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486797)

Why it is still called "Science"? Everyone uses computers today and there is nothing really left for scientific researches. Maybe a good book about eletronics is what fits "computer science" best. I don't think that reading about the latest fancy M$ products is a science.

The patent reads like a research paper... (1)

rdean400 (322321) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486798)

It looks like an AT&T researcher "invented" sublists as a way to defeat duplicate detection filters as part of a research project. The patent reads like a research paper, with various theorems and corollaries to prove how various methods of filtering spam by duplicate detection are ineffective and that spammers have the upper hand against those methods.

Ray Tracing Jell-O Brand Gelatin (1)

billscarwasher (73764) | more than 10 years ago | (#7486831)

Quite possibly the most impressive paper from SIGGRAPH 87. The abstract reveals the importance of this paper: "New technology is presented for imaging a restricted class of dessert foods."

Here's [cmu.edu] the author's page on the topic, and a usenet [cmu.edu] post containing most of the text, including the important Schrodinger wave equation for the Jell-O field J.

pateNTdead eyecon0meter: compsci less than great, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7486852)

way too narrow in scope.

'understanding' bits & bytes, while somewhat useful, is not required to take advantage of the creators' newclear power plan, &/or participate in the wwwildly popular, great planet/population rescue mandate.

the creators' 'program' is so simple, it confounds 'big thinkers' & payper liesense corepirate nazi felons/murderers.

so it goes:

consult with/trust in yOUR creators... get ready to see the light.
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