Skip to main content

Questions tagged [computer-science]

For questions about the scientific approach to computations and its applications.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1 vote
0 answers
39 views

Help With Understanding of Constants in Zeller's Congruence

If this would be better suited over on the Mathematics Exchange, please move it appropriately. I thought I would start here for the history type aspect Background I'm currently working as a Data ...
eyoung100's user avatar
  • 111
2 votes
2 answers
135 views

What factors make a technology grow exponentially over time? (e.g., as in Moore's Law)

We all know Moore's Law, namely that computing power grows exponentially. The specific statement of Moore's Law had to do withe the doubling time (2 years) of the number of transistors in a ...
Hernan's user avatar
  • 121
13 votes
2 answers
5k views

Who coined the term "signal-to-noise ratio" and when did statisticians start using the term "noise" to describe randomness?

I'm writing about the history of the concept of noise and am having trouble tracking down references from when the term "noise" started being associated with statistical noise such as ...
vy32's user avatar
  • 655
0 votes
0 answers
127 views

Who invented bit permutations like shuffle, butterfly and bit-reversal?

This question is about a class of periodic permutations,that are produced by applying finite permutations to the binary digits of all integers. In lack of a better name, they shall be called bit ...
Watchduck's user avatar
  • 101
1 vote
1 answer
305 views

What are some examples of galactic algorithms that have become practical?

On the Wikipedia article for galactic algorithm (an algorithm that only becomes efficient when the inputs are so large that the algorithm is not used in practice), one of the use cases is that ...
David Lui's user avatar
  • 111
0 votes
0 answers
96 views

When did mathematical logic start being applied in/ with computer science?

I am going through articles about Turing machines which were introduced to solve the entscheidung problem by Alan Turing in 1936. To what I understand, all modern computers are essentially Turing ...
tryst with freedom's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
125 views

How the present technology influences the way history of science is done?

Heard recently about digital humanities as a new paradigm of inquiry into the history of mankind and other humanities. Is the historiography of science informed by technological advances that could ...
SAFI's user avatar
  • 343
3 votes
1 answer
114 views

Historical examples of frauds discovered because someone tried to mimic a uniform random sequence

So, I'm preparing a talk about the well known fact that humans are bad at the task of generating uniformly random sequences of numbers when asked to do so. I would like to spice the talk a bit by ...
Swike's user avatar
  • 131
5 votes
0 answers
97 views

What was Gauss's algorithmic method to solve a certain "nearest neighbour search" problem in multi-dimensional euclidean space?

In his 1829 paper on a new formulation of mechanics, Gauss presented his principle of least constraint, which parallels previous formulations of analytical mechanics and provides a new point of view ...
user2554's user avatar
  • 4,489
1 vote
0 answers
65 views

What effect were used for manufacturing HDD before 1988?

I understand Hard disk present before 1988 and I came to know that Giant magnetoresistance effect used in applications in Hard Disk manufacturing and this effect is discovered in 1988 So what effect ...
Albert Will's user avatar
11 votes
0 answers
366 views

How were contour plots of complex functions produced in the days of mechanical differential analyzers?

I was reading an old paper (specifically, the first appearance of the Pearcey function, here) and I was struck by the beauty of the plots it contains, particularly for a paper from 1945-46: Pearcey ...
Emilio Pisanty's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
144 views

Has Turing's invention of Turing machines contributed to the development of real computers?

Has Turing's invention of Turing machines contributed to the development of real computers, which resulted in the personal computers we currently use? I often saw it mentioned that this is an ...
user51244's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
440 views

What is the source of Donald Knuth's remark about naming programming languages?

(This question toes the line between belonging here and belonging on the Retrocomputing Stack Exchange.) Here is the quote; sometimes the first sentence is omitted: The most important thing in a ...
texdr.aft's user avatar
  • 253
0 votes
0 answers
88 views

Derek Oppen and the Nelson-Oppen combination procedure

Derek Oppen was a student of Stephen Cook known for the Nelson-Oppen combination of decision procedures method. Yet, there is no Wikipedia entry dedicated to him and his publication list extends ...
user1868607's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
114 views

What was the first automated theorem prover?

From a lot of googling, it seems like the answer might be "Mizar", but I am not completely sure. What was (or is?) the first automated theorem prover (i.e. not necessarily active right now)?
Alex's user avatar
  • 275
5 votes
0 answers
54 views

Are there other articles by Ada Lovelace than translation of Menabrea's notes on Analytical Engine?

Ada Lovelace is well known as an translator of Luigi's Menabrea article on Babbage's Analytical engine. She also added notes to the translation which are in the end longer than the translation itself. ...
Martin Vesely's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
315 views

Where does the term "arm's-length recursion" come from?

I've recently seen the term "arm's-length recursion" for a recursive method with a check that short-circuits the method's true or intended base case. What's the origin of this term? How did ...
Jason Hemann's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
159 views

The mathematics of multiple values

tl;dr Why has the array paradigm, which emerged in the 1950s and 60s amongst mathematicians, and which underpins certain programming languages, apparently failed to capture and maintain interest ...
Steve's user avatar
  • 254
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

How did von Neumann come up with his merge sort algorithm?

Since merge sort is the first $O(n \log n)$ time general purpose sorting algorithm I find it rather surprising that it was discovered without having any obvious conceptual predecessors. Are there any ...
GEP's user avatar
  • 1,515
3 votes
1 answer
134 views

Where does the term "pivot" come from in the quicksort algorithm?

The quicksort algorithm is based on recursively choosing an element to partition the array. In every modern exposition that I've seen, this element is called the "pivot". However, as far as ...
Matt Hancock's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
504 views

What is Holon Programming?

Donald Knuth credits Pierre-Arnoul de Marneffe's idea of "Holon Programming" as the main influence on Literate Programming. See page 13 of "Literate Programming", Knuth's paper ...
texdr.aft's user avatar
  • 253
5 votes
1 answer
167 views

Was Charles Sanders Peirce aware of Charles Babbage's difference engine?

Is there any indication that Charles Peirce was aware of Babbage and his work on mechanical computing?
GEP's user avatar
  • 1,515
3 votes
0 answers
175 views

Who were the major thinkers before Turing to ask whether machines can think? How come Turing's Test lasted as the influential one?

Turing Test has often been referred to both in academia and outside it when talking about AI. Yet there were I suppose many more thinkers except for Turing, possibly Descartes among them, that dealt ...
SAFI's user avatar
  • 343
5 votes
0 answers
144 views

Early parallel computing with human exchanging messages: is this story true?

As a student in applied maths, I can remember being told that in the 1940s there were early attempts of parallel computing not using any machine but only human calculation power. I believe the story ...
Joce's user avatar
  • 101
2 votes
1 answer
205 views

Was a work of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage inspiration for pioneers of modern computing?

Recently, I came across a book about Grace Hopper where it is stated that Howard Aiken wanted her to become familiar with papers by Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage as he considered some of Babbage's ...
Martin Vesely's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
477 views

Does Blum's speedup theorem have any conceptual predecessors?

Blum's speedup theorem seems to me that bears at least some superficial resemblance to Gödel's research on the length of proofs under certain axiomatic systems. Does Blum's speedup theorem have any ...
GEP's user avatar
  • 1,515
16 votes
2 answers
1k views

What happened to cybernetics?

Recently, I've been looking into the life of the brilliant Norbert Wiener and the field he spawned, cybernetics. Before reading into it, I thought "cybernetics" was a pseudo-science-new-wave-...
Jesse's user avatar
  • 261
5 votes
1 answer
582 views

Why so hard to find references to pictures of Raymond Boyce?

Raymond Boyce was one of the first pioneers of the relational database and a co-developer of SQL, yet it is almost impossible to find any pictures of him: https://www.google.com/search?q=raymond+f+...
Joe Harris's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
634 views

How did Yao come up with his minimum spanning tree algorithm?

I recently stumbled upon this text about Yao's algorithm for the minimum spanning tree (MST) and I was wondering if there are some preceding algorithms (other than Sollin's algorithm) that were ...
GEP's user avatar
  • 1,515
5 votes
2 answers
130 views

Did Kolmogorov complexity influence the development of communication complexity?

I was reading a wikipedia article about communication complexity and it seems to me that it bears some resemblance to Kolmogorov complexity. Was the founder of communication complexity influenced by ...
GEP's user avatar
  • 1,515
2 votes
1 answer
170 views

Origins and reason for Volume A and B divide in Theoretical Computer Science

At some point in history, theoretical computer science emerged as a sub-discipline of computer science. Later, apparently it segregated into "volume A" work and "volume B" work. This can be seen for ...
Hermann Gruber's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
130 views

Origin of O/L for false/true in German computer-science texts

In Konrad Zuse's Plankalkül ZIA ID 0020 from 1972, in his patent submission Z23624 "Rechenmaschine" ZIA ID 0177 from 1936 and modern German Wikipedia article on the dyadic system, 2020-01-17 we see L ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
135 views

When did the study of the rate of convergence of algorithms begin?

I was reading a book about computational complexity theory and the author made a claim that the study of time complexity of algorithms started with a result on the upper bound on the number of ...
GEP's user avatar
  • 1,515
10 votes
1 answer
377 views

What is the first reference to a nondeterministic Turing machine?

I am looking for the first reference of a Nondeterministic Turing machine. There is no mention of them in the 1936 paper "On Computable Numbers."
vy32's user avatar
  • 655
8 votes
0 answers
156 views

When did computer pioneers realize that some problems are intrinsically hard?

In my theory computation class, I was told that early computer pioneers didn't realize that some problems are intrinsically hard—what we now call NP-hard problems. Instead, it took a while to realize ...
vy32's user avatar
  • 655
1 vote
2 answers
267 views

Can you provide pages 7, 8, 25 of the 1969 edition of the Art of Computer Programming?

A paper published in 1975 references The Art of Computer Programming (then published in 1969), so it's probably the first edition. I can't even find this edition for sale anywhere. Would you be so ...
user724963's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
57 views

Is there a reason $⊑$ in CSP is analogous to $⊇$ (as opposed to $⊆$)?

The 'square' subset symbols are sometimes used to express analogous concepts to subsets, like prefixes or suffixes. However their use in CSP seems to be counterintuitive to their shape: $⊑$ appears ...
iacob's user avatar
  • 400
2 votes
1 answer
770 views

What is the origin of "banana brackets"?

"Banana" brackets are used to denote catamorphisms: Another notation found in the literature is . These symbols are very similar to the composition of a $($ and a $|$, is this similarity ...
iacob's user avatar
  • 400
2 votes
1 answer
649 views

How did Lenna become the most used image in image processing?

$Lenna$ despite being an playboy model posing nude here and there, is one of the most used images for image processing. How she came into the world of image processing? Was it done intentionally by ...
Turing101's user avatar
  • 123
4 votes
1 answer
170 views

When has the notion of "programming language for machines" emerged?

Nowadays, it seems just common sense to write a program in a high-level programming language and let it be compiler (or interpreted) into machine code to run a computer. However, when did the ...
Quora Feans's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
830 views

Why would Margaret Hamilton and her team at NASA print the code on paper?

This famous photo depicts Margaret Hamilton, leader of the software engineering team for the Apollo Project, next a print out of the code she and her team wrote for the mission. This information is ...
user2723984's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
346 views

Why was the 'differential entropy' from information theory so named?

The entropy of a distribution $p$ on a discrete set $\mathcal{X}$ is defined as $$H(p) = -\sum_{x \in \mathcal{X}} p_x \log p_x.$$ Shannon in his classic paper [1] defines the analogue for continuous ...
Mr. G-Man's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
87 views

In left- or right-rotation for arrays, where did those conventions for the directions come from?

This is a repost from another exchange. I was going to write a paper about code to rotate elements in an array, but I realized I have no idea why rotation towards the start of the array is “left” ...
CTMacUser's user avatar
  • 191
2 votes
1 answer
2k views

What technologies were used before JavaScript?

I made a small research about the history before JavaScript was available to use, but I couldn't find much. I only found several plugins that was used, such as Adobe Flash, ActiveX. So, what I want ...
Loizos Vasileiou's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
123 views

Where is the first reference to the "Z combinator", a call-by-value fix-point combinator?

I'd like to know the earliest reference to the Z-combinator. This could be either where the name was first coined, or even the first discussion of a need for an applicative-order Y combinator. I didn'...
Jason Hemann's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
55 views

Frege alluded to a logic algorithm?

Somewhere (I wish I remember where) I read that Gottlob Frege, although he didn't invent a logic algorithm, alluded to one (the Quine–McCluskey algorithm? something else? converting truth tables to ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 5,339
5 votes
1 answer
62 views

When was the first appearance of the abbreviation RSA?

When was the first publication of the abbreviation RSA (Rivest, Sharmir, Adleman) because it does not appear in Martin Gardner’s article of 1977 which is at the following url: https://simson.net/ref/...
matq's user avatar
  • 51
9 votes
3 answers
882 views

Did amateurs ever produce important proofs or similar?

Background Mathematics and some areas of physics and computer science have the peculiar appeal that some problems and results are easy to understand and it is conceivable that somebody armed with ...
Wrzlprmft's user avatar
  • 1,032
9 votes
1 answer
928 views

Was there an intentional purge of all audio recordings of Alan Turing?

The YouTube video Alan Turing's lost radio broadcast rerecorded contains a re-enactment of Alan Turing's lecture broadcast by the BBC. In the introduction, the narrator (James Grimes, also of the ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 2,187
1 vote
0 answers
99 views

When was the Server Side Include feature of web servers first made available?

Server Side Include (SSI) is a specific concept and related feature of web servers. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_Side_Includes When was this feature first introduced? The Wikipedia ...
Alex R's user avatar
  • 111