Edsger Dijkstra – blogger avant la lettre combines deep science with deadpan humor

Dijkstra, Holland’s most influential and remarkable computer scientist, was a blogger avant la lettre.
Her blogged in his EWDs (his initials – Edsger Willem Dijkstra) whatever he wanted to say – could be drafts of scientific papers or trip reports or angry letters.

His EWDs are fun to read. The language is precise but light, and pervaded with beautiful language, metaphors, humorous by-sentences and jokes.

If you can start a very theoretical discussion in this way, you are a genius of language, besides science. Here in EWD 28.

A machine defines (by its very structure) a language, viz. its input language: conversely, the semantic definition of a language specifies a machine that understands it. In other words: machine and language are two faces of one and the same coin. I am going to describe such a coin. I leave it entirely to you to decide which of these two aspects of the subject matter of my talk you think the most important as it is rather ridiculous in both aspects.

Who is going to write the biography of this broadly respected Dutch computer scientist?
Will probably end up kickstarting it myself.

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