The effects of grappling with the power brought by concurrency while trying to manage greater conceptual (and textual) complexity.
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As computers became multi-component systems in the 1950s, handling the speed differentials efficiently was identified as a major challenge. Programming exploiting parallel architectures could bring significant efficiency improvements to certain problems, at the cost of an increased risk of particularly nasty bugs. This drove a desire for better understanding and control of 'concurrency' via hardware, software and formal solutions.
Today’s talk traces a history of some early attempts. We start with systems programs, discuss algorithms, consider programming constructs such as semaphores and monitors, and finish with programming languages.
This story shows the effects of grappling with the power brought by concurrency while trying to manage greater conceptual (and textual) complexity. The computer scientists involved sought a balance between abstraction and tolerable implementation and their work demonstrates changing priorities in programming and computer science.
The recently published paper forms the basis for this talk.
About the speaker
Dr. Troy Kaighin Astarte
Dr. Troy Kaighin Astarte joined Swansea University as a lecturer in October 2021. Troy’s research lies mainly in two areas to date: history of computer science and formal aspects of computing.
Troy is associated with various communities, including the British Society for the History of Mathematics (where they are a council member and webmaster), and the Newcastle University Historic Computing Committee. They are keen to open up Swansea’s History of Computing Collection for object-centred research and teaching. Troy is a member of the PROGRAMme interdisciplinary research group, which takes a historical, philosophical, and technical look at the question “What is a program?”
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