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2004-10-21-kennethIversonVisualize Context (requires Java Plug-in)
CREATED BY chris • LAST EDITED BY chris 4626 days AGO
Ken Iverson, † 2004-10-19.

Turing Award recipient Kenneth Iverson passed away on October 19th at the age of 83. In the second half of the 1950s (at Harvard University) and early 1960s (at IBM), he created an extraordinarily effective mathematical notation, described in detail in the 1962 book "A Programming Language". In the early days going by the name of "Iverson's Notation", APL was initially used to teach in the Harvard Automated Data Processing graduate program established by Howard Aiken. One of the great successes at IBM was a complete, yet spectacularly concise formal description of the company's System/360. The language enjoyed widespread use inside and outside of IBM, especially in the 1970s.

In the late 1980s/early 1990s he started to work with Roger Hui on J, which is essentially a superset of APL. Ken Iverson continued to work on J and related educational material until the very last days.

APL was the seed from which Arthur Whitney's languages (A+, K and Q) grew; what is now commonly known as OLAP originated on time-shared APL systems; its influence on software like Mathematica, S/R and [create Numerical Python] has been profound, as - probably most important - has been its influence on the thinking of many.

"Ken has passed a torch and it is now up to us."

Notation as a Tool of Thought


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