Oral history of British science

Hoare, Tony (Part 8 of 15). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Subjects

    Computer Software

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee’s home, Cambridge

  • Interviewees

    Hoare, Charles Antony Richard, 1934- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 8: Story about Elliott 4120 development: hardware designer Roger Dyke consulting software people over important instructions; design constrained physical size of computer case; by relative importance of automatic hardware subscript check and floating point divide. [03:30] Remarks on leaving Elliott: takeover of Elliotts limiting promotion and research prospects; unsuccessfully applying for a Chair at Manchester University on advice of Tom Kilburn; joining the National Computing Centre [NCC] in Manchester. [05:45] Remarks on NCC: trying to buy a house; finishing unfinished business; growing interest in formal definition of programming languages; lack of people in the office; [pause 07:35] Story about TH being offered a job at Queen's University Belfast: wife's negative initial reaction; rented university house vacated by predecessor Jim Brown. [10:30] Description of university house in Mount Pleasant, Belfast, which they eventually purchased, close to Lyric Theatre. [13:30] Comments on NCC: job title of consultant; job activities; anecdote about manager's response to his return from successful interview in Belfast; weekly commute. [15:45] Remarks on interview in Belfast, basing answers on a recent article by Peter Naur. [16:30] Discussion about status of programming: teaching of programming as a serious profession rather than the de-skilled programmers wanted by contemporary industry: Microsoft view of skilled programming to make use of cleverest people possible; anecdote about TH speech on programming at British Computer Society meeting; ICI recruiting programmers straight from school; good relations between Industry, University and Government in Belfast around education of programmers; industry placements for students; contacts with civil servants and industry, figures. [22:15] Remarks on background of the Troubles in Belfast: TH arriving in 1968; worried but found Ireland too lovely to live in to move out; Ulster Worker's Council Strike; returning to England for childrens' later education; house being evacuated bud to bomb scare; anecdote about feeling worried about returning after he left. [26:55] Remarks on liking Ireland, Belfast architecture, nice people, close countryside; feelings on becomming a professor.

  • Description

    Interview with computer scientist Sir Tony Hoare.

  • Related transcripts

    Professor Sir Tony Hoare interviewed by Dr Thomas Lean: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

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

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