Outside of programming and helping my wife take care of our two kids, I enjoy video games, karaoke, sushi and collecting watches.”
1960 COBOL Computer Language
Robert “Rob” C. Pike (born 1956) is a Canadian programmer and author.
He is best known for his work on the Go programming language and at Bell Labs, where he was a member of the Unix team and was involved in the creation of the Plan 9 from Bell Labs and Inferno operating systems, as well as the Limbo programming language.
See also History of Go.
- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Unix Legacy – Slides of his presentation at the commemoration of 1000000000 seconds of the Unix clock.Archive on cat-v.org
- Systems Software Research is Irrelevant (a.k.a. utah2000) slidesps file
- Pike’s personal homepage
- Pike’s Google homepage
- Pike’s page on cat-v.org
- Pike’s page on C archive
- Questions and Answers with Rob Pike by Robin “Roblimo” Miller (published in Slashdot in October 2004)
- Interview on informit.comAnother interview
- Interview on infoworld.com
- Interview on red-gate.com
- Interview on usesthis.com
- Concurrency/message passing Newsqueak on YouTube (Google Tech Talks May 9, 2007)
- Structural Regular Expressions by Rob Pike slides
- The history of UTF-8 as told by Rob Piketext file
- Pike’s appearance with Penn & Teller on Letterman on YouTube
Charles Antony Richard Hoare (b. 1934)
Sorting a list of names or numbers is a common task in many computer programs.
The most obvious way to sort is to give the program a list of randomly shuffled numbers and have it cycle through the list, comparing every pair in order, putting the lower-valued number first. After n passes, where n is the number of elements in the list, the list will be sorted. This is called bubble sort, and it is a horribly inefficient sorting method.
In 1959, Tony Hoare came up with a better approach for sorting numbers. Called Quicksort, the algorithm involves partitioning a list of elements into two parts, sorting each, and then applying an algorithm recursively to each partition.
Hoare developed Quicksort in 1959 to sort words in a Russian–English dictionary while he was visiting the Soviet Union as part of an exchange program. On his return, he discovered that the algorithm was faster than other sorting algorithms, so he sent it to the algorithms department of Communications of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), a professional magazine. At the time, ACM was trying to stimulate the development of the field by publishing as many algorithms as possible; it published Quicksort as “Algorithm 64” in July 1961.
Quicksort was a groundbreaking algorithm because it was so simple (fewer than 10 lines of code) and yet dramatically more efficient than other, more obvious ways to sort a list of elements. In the five decades since, there have been minor tweaks to the algorithm, but Quicksort is still widely used in computer programs, and implementations are built into most computer languages.
Hoare went on to develop techniques for analyzing and reasoning about the correctness of computer programs. He became a professor at Queen’s University Belfast in 1968, and then moved to the University of Oxford in 1977. He won the A.M. Turing Award for his contributions to algorithms in 1980 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1982.
Looking back over his career, in 2009 he told the editor of Communications of the ACM, “I think Quicksort is the only really interesting algorithm that I’ve ever developed.”
See also One Nation, Under Surveillance — Privacy From the Watchful Eye, Privacy, History of Technology, History of Programming, History of Technology Bibliography, Privacy vs. Surveillance Bibliography
- Title: Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century
- Author: Simson L Garfinkel
- Print Length: 336 pages
- Publisher: O’Reilly Media; 1 edition
- Publication Date: Print: December 4, 2000, Kindle: July 14, 2008
- ASIN: B0026OR2OA
“Fifty years ago, in 1984, George Orwell imagined a future in which privacy was demolished by a totalitarian surveillance state that used spies, video surveillance, historical revisionism, and control over the media to maintain its power. Those who worry about personal privacy and identity — especially in this day of technologies that encroach upon these rights — still use Orwell’s “Big Brother” (see Google as Big Brother) language to discuss privacy issues. But the reality is that the age of a monolithic Big Brother is over. And yet the threats are perhaps even more likely to destroy the rights we’ve assumed were ours. Database Nation: The Death of Privacy in the 21st Century shows how, in these early years of the 21st century, advances in technology endanger our privacy in ways never before imagined even by science fiction authors. Direct marketers and retailers track our every purchase; surveillance cameras observe our movements; mobile phones report our location to those who want to track us; government eavesdroppers listen in on private communications; misused medical records turn our bodies and our histories against us; and linked databases assemble detailed consumer profiles used to predict and influence our behavior. Privacy — the most basic of our unalienable rights — is in grave peril. Simson Garfinkel — journalist, entrepreneur, and international authority on computer security — has devoted his career to testing new technologies and warning about their implications. This newly revised update of the popular hardcover edition of Database Nation is his compelling account of how invasive technologies will affect our lives in the coming years. It’s a timely, far-reaching, entertaining, and thought-provoking look at the serious threats to privacy facing us today. The book poses a disturbing question: how can we protect our basic rights to privacy, right to free speech, identity, and autonomy when technology is making invasion and control easier than ever before? Garfinkel’s captivating blend of journalism, storytelling, and futurism is a call to arms. It will frighten, entertain, and ultimately convince us that we must take action now to protect our privacy and identity before it’s too late.”
Forget the common cold for a moment. Instead, consider the rise of “false data syndrome,” a deceptive method of identification derived from numbers rather than more recognizable human traits. Simson Garfinkel couples this idea with concepts like “data shadow” and “datasphere” in Database Nation, offering a decidedly unappealing scenario of how we have overlooked privacy with the advent of advanced technology.
According to Garfinkel, “technology is not privacy neutral.” It leaves us with only two choices: 1) allow our personal data to rest in the public domain or 2) become hermits (no credit cards, no midnight video jaunts–you get the point).
Garfinkel’s thoroughly researched and example-rich text explores the history of identification procedures; the computerization of ID systems; how and where data is collected, tracked, and stored; and the laws that protect privacy. He also explains who owns, manipulates, ensures the safety of, and manages the vast amount of data that makes up our collective human infrastructure. The big surprise here? It’s not the United States government who controls or manages the majority of this data but rather faceless corporations who trade your purchasing habits, social security numbers, and other personal information just like any other hot commodity.
There’s a heck of a lot of data to digest about data here and only a smidgen of humor to counterbalance the weight of Garfinkel’s projections. But then again, humor isn’t really appropriate in connection with stolen identities; medical, bank, and insurance record exploitation; or the potential for a future that’s a “video surveillance free-for-all.”
In many information-horrific situations, Garfinkel explores the wide variety of data thievery and the future implications of larger, longer-lasting databases. “Citizens,” Garfinkel theorizes, “don’t know how to fight back even though we know our privacy is at risk.” In a case study involving an insurance claim form, he explains how a short paragraph can grant “blanket authorization” to all personal (not just medical) records to an insurance company. Citizens who refuse to sign the consent paragraph typically must forfeit any reimbursement for medical services. Ultimately, “we do not have the choice [as consumers] either to negotiate or to strike our own deal.”
The choice that we do have, however, is to build a world in which sensitive data is respected and kept private–and the book offers clever, “turn-the-tables” solutions, suggesting that citizens, government, and corporations cooperate to develop weaker ID systems and legislate heavier penalties for identification theft.
Garfinkel’s argument does give one pause, but his paranoia-laden prose and Orwellian imagination tends to obscure the effectiveness of his argument. Strangely, for all his talk about protecting your privacy, he never mentions how to remove your personal information from direct mail and telemarketing groups. And while he would like for Database Nation to be as highly regarded (and timely) as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the fact remains that we’re not going to perish from having our privacy violated. –E. Brooke Gilbert
From Library Journal
If you have a computer with Intel’s “processor serial number,” own a pet with an embedded “radio frequency identification device,” use ATMs and credit cards, and shop on the Internet, privacy is almost a nonexistent concept, because your every move is being tracked and stored somewhere for future use. Garfinkel, who has reported on computer privacy issues for Wired and other publications, is an exceptional writer who clearly understands his topic; here he explores today’s threats to privacy and how they might be stopped. This is for all libraries.