Oral history of British science

Brooker, Tony (Part 8 of 14). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Subjects

    Computer Software

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's holiday home, Hexham

  • Interviewees

    Brooker, Ralph Anthony, 1925- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 8: Remarks on Ken Iverson [KI]. Remarks on being at IBM during Cuban Missile Crisis, USA not being a good place to be a communist, not taking threat seriously, Kennedy and Khrushchev. [03:40] Further remarks on KI: Canadian, worried about family, developed APL language, useful for writing one line programs. Further remarks on ABC: MW's favourable comments at a conference; not having time to further it; intended to rival APL. Remarks on FORTRAN seeming old fashioned compared to ALGOL, meeting John Backus developer of FORTRAN.[08:55] [Short Pause][mic noise] Comments on APL and technical features of ABC with examples. [15:21] Remarks on never having opportunity to develop APL, but another IBM employee considering developing it as an alternative to BASIC for time-sharing, talking to KI about language.[cough] Remarks on creating first year programming course in 1960s. Story about Fred [Lunnon], a colleague at Cardiff university spending his redundancy money on a Porshe. [mic adjustment noise] [20:10] Remarks about developing first year programming classes with Fred in 1960s. Story about visiting Fred in Ireland in 2003 and discussing how much harder original 1960s programming course was. Remarks on high quality of Manchester first year intake, including Martin Campbell-Kelly, comparison with Essex first year intake. [24:28] Remarks on first year programming problem on pentagrams. Remarks on later years at Manchester in 1960s working on Atlas and programming languages, before move to Essex in 1967, where his work was largely recruiting people, such as Michael Brady [MB] and Pat Hayes [PH] and encouraging research.

  • Description

    Life story interview with computer scientist Tony Brooker

  • Related transcripts

    Tony Brooker interviewed by Tom Lean: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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