[isabelle-dev] Software and Pyramids

Makarius makarius at sketis.net
Mon May 13 14:27:29 CEST 2013

On Sat, 27 Apr 2013, Florian Haftmann wrote:

> http://isabelle.in.tum.de/reports/Isabelle/rev/8e0a1d0a41ff
> This quotation is not very fair towards the Egyptian pyramids.  It is
> ignorant of contemporary historians' suppositions that »just« a few
> thousand (personally free) workers had been working on a single pyramid,
> does not justice to the logistic challenge of managing such a big
> construction set, and neglects the considerable development and
> improvement of pyramid construction within a few generations.

I did not expect so much common interest in Egyptology.  We can only guess 
if Alan Kay did not know more about recent refinements of theories about 
actual Pyramid construction, or if he just assumed average or 
below-average understanding of that in his comparison to get the point 
over to the audience.

The quotation is an attempt to capture some of what Alan Kay is telling 
people in recent years.  He is interesting, because he was one of the big 
guys of programming language design a long time ago, he even invented the 
term "object oriented".  Today he puts that into a more realistic 
perspective, and proposes slightly different approaches, notably a 
preference of sophisticated domain-specific languages.

E.g. see his talk on "Programming and Scaling" given at the Hasso Plattner 
Institute Potsdam some years ago 


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