27 February, 2021

Let's Not Dumb Down the History of Computer Science


All we get nowadays is dumbed-down. Thank goodness historians of mathematics have not entirely abandoned writing articles that contain formulas or explain scientific ideas.

"I am sure that business histories are as difficult to write as technical histories, and they are no doubt also as valuable to businessmen as technical histories are valuable to technicians. But you seem to be celebrating the fact that nobody writes technical CS history at all anymore!

"When you speak of 'obvious holes', you are thinking of obvious holes in business history ... the video game industry, for example. But how about the people who write video games: They invent marvelous breakthroughs in techniques about how to render scenes and pack data and do things in parallel and coordinate thousands of online users. The lack of anything even close to describing these techniques and how they were discovered and under what constraints seems to me a much more obvious hole; yet you show no inclination to admit its existence much less to suggest plugging it."