1999 Syposium for Applied Computing (ACM SAC'99)

Keynote Address

Computer Science: Its Achievements and Its Challenges

Professor Edsger W. Dijkstra, University of Texas

In this talk we shall try to understand the fate of Computing Science as an academic discipline, i.e. as an intellectual enterprise as autonomous as the campus permits (and requires). It should help us understand past and present -e.g. how nationally different conceptions of "the University" result in nationally different views of what CS should be about -and it should assist us in choosing what type of research to pursue.

Professor Dijkstra, born in 1930, studied mathematics and theoretical physics in Leyden and got his Ph.D. in Computing Science in 1959 in Amsterdam. He worked there at the Mathematical Centre from 1952 until 1962, when he became Full Professor of Mathematics in Eindhoven. He was Burroughs Research Fellow from 1973 until his immigration to the USA in 1984, when he was appointed the Schlumberger Centennial Chair in Computer Sciences at UT-Austin. He has done pioneering work in algorithms, compilers, implementation, operating systems, multiprogramming, synchronization, self-stabilization, semantics and programming methodology. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society, ACM Fellow, Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1972 recipient of the ACM Turing Award and Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His current research interests focus on the formal derivation of proofs and programs and the streamlining of the mathematical argument in general.