Oral history of British science
Hoare, Tony (Part 13 of 15). An Oral History of British Science.
The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
Legal and ethical usage »
Interviewee’s home, Cambridge
Hoare, Charles Antony Richard, 1934- (speaker, male)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
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.
Interview with computer scientist Sir Tony Hoare.