Oral history of British science

Hoare, Tony (Part 13 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 13: Remarks on wider administration duties: Oxford college committees, TH membership of library of committee but concentrating on building department; TH membership of Wolfson College, previously student at Merton College; TH service on Science Research Council committees; referring papers, organising conferences. [03:55] Remarks on SRC committees: currently member of college of peers; SRC worries over being elitist, new universities' problems writing grant applications, abolishment of committee system; TH early membership of SRC committee; anecdote about having to leave room while his grant was being decided on; advantages of sitting on SRC committees; working of research grant selection committees, balance of industrial, short term and pure, long term research; anecdote about a Richard Doll lecture and view that scientists should never claim applications for their work; [13:25] early exaggeration of claims of risks of errors in software, even in case of concurrent computing; change in importance of formal methods to concurrent computing as hardware changes. [16:50] Comments on research at Oxford: highlights occurring mostly in early years; work on program specifications, Zed, by Jean Raymond Abrial; need for independent notion of correctness, example of formalisation of meaning in example of air traffic control; development of specification early in program project and testing of design steps against it, correctness by construction; Zed language, based on foundational branches; [22:00] TH view on achievebility of error free software; joint project with IBM on using formla methods to improve unwieldy Customer Information Control System software, resulting in dramatic increase in reliability and winning a Queen's Award. [26:25] Comments on: intense interactions between university and IBM at Hursley; IBM realising value of academics; TH winning Turing Award in 1980, as did Dana Scott, value of award.

  • 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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