[FoRK] one of the earliest of that clan who are known ... as computer bums

Dave Long dave.long at bluewin.ch
Sun Nov 3 10:09:50 PST 2013

nice lede for a reminiscence which demonstrates both that category  
theory has been close to functional languages from early times and  
(in the sequel) that the hardware guys have only recently made it  
possible to easily do what software guys have hoped and planned to  
for half a century:

Robin Popplestone, "The Early Development of POP"
> In 1960 I went to Manchester University as a research student in  
> the Mathematics Department. There my nose was pointed in the  
> direction of Category Theory by Walter Ledermann, my first  
> supervisor. However I was enticed away from such abstract studies  
> when I made the acquaintance of the Manchester Atlas computer, a  
> machine considered to be so powerful that `it could do anything',  
> as I was told in response to my query to one of its designers (I  
> don't recall whom) when I asked whether it could drive a motor-car.  
> We are wiser now, both in knowing that more power than the weedy 1  
> MIP of the Atlas is needed for vision, and in knowing that human  
> performance in that particular task is so woefully inadequate that  
> any new technology for personal transport must be greatly less  
> perilous than the man+motor-car combination.


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