April 1 Education And One Liners

Last Update: April 01, 2021

On this day in 1922, Alan J Perlis is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. What a great day in history for computer education.

Higher Education Had Its Big Impact

Alan Perlis began with a scientific and mathematical mind which thrived in higher education at Carnegie Mellon University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Alan took everything he learned and made the computer academic field better.

Perlis Left A Legacy

Perlis used his intelligence and educational experience to establish and head the Carnegie's Graduate Department of Computer Science, become the first director of the computing laboratory at Purdue University and played a leading role in developing Yale’s computer science department.

In 1957 he chaired of the ACM, association for computing machinery, the world's largest educational and scientific computing society which led to the creation of the new computer language, ALGOL which lead to PASCAL. Pascal, a procedural programming language, is still used today as a teaching tool for programming instructor.

In 1966, Perlis received the first A.M. Turing Award. This was truly an honor because the award is recognized internationally as the highest honor in computer science. Perlis was cited for the award because of his influence in the area of advanced programming techniques and compiler construction and for establishing computer science as a distinct academic field.

So for those of us with a computer degree we have Perlis to thank.

Not All Computer Educators Make Things Complex

Perlis is fondly remembered as the author of classic one-liners.

I found them profound. Hope you enjoy them too.

The following have been copied from Yale.edu. They are known as the Perlis Epigrams of Computer Programming.

  • One man's constant is another man's variable.
  • Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon.
  • Every program is a part of some other program and rarely fits.
  • If a program manipulates a large amount of data, it does so in a small number of ways.
  • Symmetry is a complexity-reducing concept (co-routines include subroutines); seek it everywhere.
  • It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.
  • A programming language is low level when its programs require attention to the irrelevant.
  • If you have a procedure with ten parameters, you probably missed some.
  • In the long run every program becomes rococo - then rubble.
  • Everything should be built top-down, except the first time.
  • If a listener nods his head when you're explaining your program, wake him up.
  • A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming, is not worth knowing.
  • To understand a program you must become both the machine and the program.
  • Perhaps if we wrote programs from childhood on, as adults we'd be able to read them.
  • Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.
  • There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third one works.
  • As Will Rogers would have said, "There is no such thing as a free variable."
  • Sometimes I think the only universal in the computing field is the fetch-execute cycle.
  • So many good ideas are never heard from again once they embark in a voyage on the semantic gulf.
  • So many good ideas are never heard from again once they embark in a voyage on the semantic gulf.
  • Making something variable is easy. Controlling duration of constancy is the trick.
  • Documentation is like term insurance: It satisfies because almost no one who subscribes to it depends on its benefits.
  • Interfaces keep things tidy, but don't accelerate growth: Functions do.
  • Don't have good ideas if you aren't willing to be responsible for them.
  • One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.
  • Editing is a rewording activity.

Do You Have Any Intriguing One Liners?

Do your one liners have anything to do with affiliate markeing?

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JeffreyBrown Premium
Some fantastic gems here, George! Thanks for sharing!

jghwebbrand Premium
You are welcome. Glad you enjoyed.
JeffreyBrown Premium
Thanks, and I did!
MBdesire Premium Plus
Hi jghwebbrand,
Education the door oper, the quality reflector.
jghwebbrand Premium
Your one liner is terrific.
Thank you.
richardgb Premium
They're great one-liners from Peril!
Seriously now:
“Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” – Joe Chernov
jghwebbrand Premium
The quote you shared is terrific. Thanks a lot.