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Issue No. 04 - Oct.-Dec. (2014 vol. 36)
ISSN: 1058-6180
pp: 64-73
Sandy Payette , Cornell University
In the late 1960s, tensions were erupting in corporate and academic computing cultures in the United States and abroad with competing views about the state of computer programming and possible future implications. A discourse of "software crisis" was ignited in 1968 when NATO hosted a conference on the topic of software engineering. The author examines the rhetoric of crisis, revolution, and promise in computer programming cultures by viewing it through the lens of two dissimilar leaders, Grace Hopper and Edsger Dijkstra, who articulated views through discourses about computer programming that reveal multiple ideals and tensions. As representatives and exemplars of different communities, they emphasized pragmatic versus theoretical stances, respectively. The historical context they operated in also highlights the cultural complexities of gender in computer programming, a durable phenomenon that continues today.
Programming profession, Computer languages, Software engineering, Rhetoric, History

S. Payette, "Hopper and Dijkstra: Crisis, Revolution, and the Future of Programming," in IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 64-73, 2014.
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