samskivert: Out of Their Minds

04 December 2009

Interesting biography and interviews with fifteen computer scientists. I read this before Coders at Work but I’m reviewing it after, so I’ll note that this book focuses less on the practice of programming (understandably) and more on the individual history of each of its subjects. Knuth is the only overlap in the interviewees, with OoTM focusing more on 50s, 60s and 70s computer science (Brooks, Lamport, McCarthy, Dijkstra, etc.) and CaW running the gamut. The circuitous routes taken into computing by nearly all of the subjects is pretty fascinating. Nearly all of them stumbled into academia or spent some time there. I wonder how many would have taken the trouble to surmount the hurdles one faces today.

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