University of Virginia, Department of Computer Science
CS655: Programming Languages, Spring 2000

Manifest: Thursday 23 March 2000
Assignments Due
Today, 11:59pmProject Prelminary Report
Monday, 3 April (11:59pm)Position Paper 4 (Trial Verdicts) - Jurors Only
Tuesday, 11 April (in class)Problem Set 3


Read before Tuesday 4 April:

· Turbak & Gifford, Applied Semantics of Programming Languages. Chapter 4.
Denotational Semantics

· Luca Cardelli. Basic Polymorphic Typechecking. Science of Computer Programming, 8(2): 147-172, 1987.

Describes ML type inference.


In the 1950's von Neumann was employed as a consultant to IBM to review proposed and ongoing advanced technology projects. One day a week, von Neumann "held court" at 590 Madison Avenue, New York. On one of these occasions in 1954 he was confronted with the FORTRAN concept; John Backus remembered von Neumann being unimpressed and that he asked "why would you want more than machine language?" Frank Beckman, who was also present, recalled that von Neumann dismissed the whole development as "but an application of the idea of Turing's `short code'." Donald Gillies, one of von Neumann's students at Princeton, and later a faculty member at the University of Illinois, recalled in the mid-1970's that the graduates students were being "used" to hand assemble programs into binary for their early machine (probably the IAS machine). He took time out to build an assembler, but when von Neumann found out about he was very angry, saying (paraphrased), "It is a waste of a valuable scientific computing instrument to use it to do clerical work."

From biography of John von Neumann at

CS 655 University of Virginia
CS 655: Programming Languages
Last modified: Mon Feb 26 12:48:21 2001