An Oral History of Computer Science

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Twelve senior faculty members share their personal journeys and their recollections of the early days of computer science at Cornell University and the leadership role in bringing a new field of study into existence.

Birman, Ken

Cardie, Claire

Constable, Robert

Conway, Richard W.

Gries, David

Hartmanis, Juris

Hopcroft, John E

Kozen, Dexter

Nerode, Anil

Schneider, Fred B

Teitelbaum, Tim

Van Loan, Charlie

(Click on a name above to scroll to an abstract and a live link to the associated streaming video.)


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
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    00_A Directory of the Oral Histories of Computer Science at Cornell University
    Cooke, J. Robert (The Internet-First University Press, 2016-06-16)
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    A Conversation with Fred Schneider
    Schneider, Fred B.; Gries, David (Internet-First University Press, 2015-09-09)
    Fred Schneider, an expert in concurrent and distributed systems and in computer and cybersecurity, shares insights about how his professional interests evolved, and provides sweeping views about how his field and department have changed.
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    A Conversation with Claire Cardie
    Cardie, Claire; Constable, Robert L. (Internet-First University Press, 2015-09-09)
    Claire Cardie discusses the role of Gerard Salton, natural language processing and the creation of the Information Science Department.
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    A Conversation with Ken Birman
    Birman, Ken; Van Renesse, Robbert (Internet-First University Press, 2015-09-10)
    Ken Birman discusses the origins of cloud computing.
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    A Conversation with Dexter Kozen
    Kozen, Dexter; Constable, Robert L. (Internet-First University Press, 2015-09-09)
    Kozen discusses his experiences at Cornell – his research and teaching experience, textbooks, participation in sports & music, etc.
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    A Conversation with Charlie Van Loan
    Van Loan, Charlie; Bala, Kavita (Internet-First University Press, 2015-09-15)
    Van Loan discusses his experiences with teaching, writing textbooks, administering degree programs, MatLab, matrices and more.
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    A Conversation with Tim Teitelbaum
    Teitelbaum, Tim; Gries, David (Internet-First University Press, 2015-09-10)
    A discussion of the teaching of large, introductory courses in programming in the early days-using the Terak and Macintosh computers and the development of integrated programming environments that implement language-aware editing capabilities.
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    A Conversation with David Gries
    Gries, David; Constable, Robert L. (Internet-First University Press, 2015-07-21)
    David Gries joined Cornell in 1969. He was chair of CS in the 1980s and associate dean of engineering for 8 years in the 2000s. His research was on compiler writing and areas related to formal programming methodology. He is known for his texts on programming, on compiler writing (the first such text, in 1971), on the science of programming, and on logic and discrete math. He has two honorary doctorates and four awards from the leading computing societies for contributions to education. He was among the first ten Cornell faculty to receive the Weiss Presidential Fellow award for contributions to undergrad education. He was Chair of the Computer Science Board when it became the CRA (Computing Research Association) and opened an office in Washington to represent the interests of computing in academia. He received the CRA award for service to the computing community. David and Bob talk about David’s time as a grad student at the Munich Institute of Technology and the early days in the Cornell CS Department. Running Time: 51 min.
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    A Conversation with John E. Hopcroft
    Hopcroft, John E.; Gries, David (Internet-First University Press, 2015-07-21)
    This ACM Turing Award recipient talks about research, textbooks, working with graduate students, his role as a senior statesman of his field and concludes with some words of wisdom.
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    A Conversation with Richard W. Conway
    Conway, Richard W.; Gries, David (Internet-First University Press, 2015-07-21)
    Dick Conway came to Cornell in 1949, as a freshman. He received the first PhD from Operations Research and Industrial Engineering (1958), was instrumental in the creation of the CS Department (1965) and was a founding member, spent two years as the first Director of Cornell’s Office of Computer Services, and later joined the Johnson Graduate School of Management. In all these positions, he made significant contributions. His 1967 co-authored text “Theory of Scheduling” placed the study of production scheduling on a formal foundation. INFORMS lists the book as a landmark in the timeline of Operations Research. He developed and implemented the programming languages CORC (1958) and CUPL (1962). In the 1970’s, he developed and implemented PL/C, with an emphasis on error correction in the compiler, and co-authored a programming text. In the Johnson Graduate School, Dick introduced and implemented the idea of an immersion course, where students took one 15-credit course, “Semester in Manufacturing”, spending half the time visiting manufacturing plants and the other half in the classroom. Dick is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Dick and David Gries discuss the beginnings of CS at and what it was like in the 1970s. Running Time: 58 min.