The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

It's been years since I last read the Communications of the ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery, perhaps the top organisation for the field of Computing). In the days before the internet, leather-bound volumes of past issues of this journal were one source of copious and top-notch information on every field of computing research. By the time I left IISc, the world-wide web was becoming quite the phenomenon, and access to cutting-edge research that much easier online. I had switched to telecomms in my professional life, and found little of relevance in the CACM until the explosive spread of mobile telephony and data prompted a series of superb articles on wireless communications and computing.

That was in the mid-to-late 1990s. In the new century, my interest in telecomms began to wilt and, concomitantly, my reading of the CACM. I would still look at the Turing Award stories in the magazine, thrilled to recognise a name of a computing science God being acknowledged by his peers. But now, in 2008, as I say, it has been years since I last looked at the magazine.

This year is its 50th anniversary, in honour of which, the ACM has made a digital version of its January 2008 issue available on its website. In it, I found this
(Stephen B. Jenkins)

Much have I travell'd in the realms of code,
And many goodly programs have I seen.
I've voyaged far to conferences umpteen,
Attending to the wisdom there bestowed.

Yet as I've moved along the winding road
Of my career (a journey not serene),
Only one source of knowledge has there been
Of worth enough to prompt of me an ode.

Communications has for 50 years,
Been there to help each of us on our way,
By giving us the things they had to say.
So, as the start of its sixth decade near
Please join me wishing it "Happy Birthday."


Anonymous said...

Mmm, CACM. Thanks for the link. It has been years since I actually read one of them (no, I haven't graduated yet, thankyouverymuch. Coincidence?), but it was great reading those big leather-bound multiple issue volumes, back in the day.

They had that series of articles "GO TO statement considered harmful", "'GO TO considered harmful' considered harmful", and "'"GOTO considered harmful" considered harmful' considered harmful". Needless to say, I found the names side-splittingly funny, and spent an hour looking through the next few issues to see if they continued it. Good times!

Fëanor said...

Bill: yup, I remember that series. I think Dijkstra eventually lost patience with the whole silliness and sent in this complaint.

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