Archive for October 20, 2009

Systems Software Research is Dead

Beki and I continue to have a conversation through our blog posts.  (Normally, Beki is down the hall from me, but this semester, she is teaching at Georgia Tech’s campus in Metz, France.  Barb and I are visiting Beki and her husband, Keith Edwards, when I go to speak at Informatics Education Europe the first week of November.  Perhaps we should do a joint blog post that day…)  Today, Beki is talking about Rob Pike and his concerns about “science” taking over what’s interesting about “Computer Science.”

Measurement as a “misguided” focus on science, but then he adds:

“By contrast, a new language or OS can make the machine feel different, give excitement, novelty. But today that’s done by a cool Web site or a higher CPU clock rate or some cute little device that should be a computer but isn’t.

The art is gone.

But art is not science, and that’s part of the point. Systems research cannot be just science; there must be engineering, design, and art.”

October 20, 2009 at 8:50 am 3 comments


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