HaPoP 2018

Fourth Symposium on the History and Philosophy of Programming

23 March 2018, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Colocated with BSHM Meeting on History of Computing, 22 March 2018

In a society where computers have become ubiquitous, it is necessary to develop a deeper understanding of the nature of computer programs, not just from the technical viewpoint, but from a broader historical and philosophical perspective. A historical awareness of the evolution of programming not only helps to clarify the complex structure of computing, but it also provides an insight in what programming was, is and could be in the future. Philosophy, on the other hand, helps to tackle fundamental questions about the nature of programs, programming languages and programming as a discipline.

HaPoP 2018 is the fourth edition of the Symposium on the History and Philosophy of Programming, organised by HaPoC, Commission on the History and Philosophy of Computing. As in the previous editions, we are convinced that an interdisciplinary approach is necessary for understanding programming with its multifaceted nature. As such, we welcome participation by researchers and practitioners coming from a diversity of backgrounds, including historians, philosophers, computer scientists and professional software developers.

In addition to submissions in a wide range of areas traditional for HaPoP (outlined below), we especially welcome submissions that explore the nature of scientific progress with respect to computer programming as a discipline. We are interested in investigations concerning the methodology of computer programming, whether it follows a form of scientific method that allows it to increase its problem solving ability, whether its development more is akin to science, engineering or rather art, and what examples from the history of programming can be provided to support either argument.

Registration and co-located events

The symposium is on Friday (March 23), and is co-located with a meeting History of Computing beyond the Computer on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday, (March 21-22), organised by the British Society for the History of Mathematics, which hosts a full day of invited talks closely related to HaPoP. We are also organising a dinner at Nuffield College on Thursday, (March 22), before the HaPoP symposium and we are considering an informal meeting on Saturday, (March 24), to provide space for informal discussion and collaboration.

To register and express interest in participation, please see the following links:

  • HaPoP 2018 symposium and dinner registration (March 22 and March 23). To attend HaPoP symposium and dinner, click here. Symposium ticket is available for £40 and symposium ticket with college dinner is available for £100. Partners are welcome at the college dinner, but need to book a dinner ticket through the above link.
  • History of Computing beyond the Computer (March 21 and March 22). For more information about the co-located event organised by the British Society for the History of Mathematics, as well as registration, see the BSHM registration page.
  • Informal post-symposium meeting (March 24). If you are interested in attending the post-symposium meeting on Saturday after the symposium, please express your interest in joining the meeting here. Initial interest suggests this will likely happen, but we will send a final confirmation to those who expressed interest by Monday 19 February, so that you can plan your travel accordingly.

The HAPOC Commission is kindly offering two grants for authors of papers presented at HaPoP 2018. If you are the author of an accepted submission and require travel support, please see HAPOC grants for authors.

Symposium programme

The symposium will be taking place in the L4 room of the Oxford Mathematical institute. For more information about the institute, how to get there and other information, please see the institute's about web page.

9:00 - 9:10: Welcome and introduction

9:10 - 10:25: Programming concepts

  • 9:10 - 9:45: Theorising Data: A History of Abstract Data Types and their Specification - John Tucker
  • 9:45 - 10:20: Time in programming - Andrea Magnorsky and Felienne Hermans

10:20 - 10:50: Coffee break

10:50 - 12:35: People and organisations

  • 10:50 - 11:25: Middleware's Presentism: Asynchrony, Flow, Finance, and the Enterprise - Michael Castelle
  • 11:25 - 12:00: Common misconceptions and their implications for programming systems - Alaaeddin Swidan and Felienne Hermans
  • 12:00 - 12:35: IBM and the Algol project: Exploring the challenges and dilemmas of early computer science research - David Nofre

12:35 - 13:30: Lunch break

13:30 - 15:15: Programs and programming

  • 13:30 - 14:05: Moonbit - James Dobson and Rena Mosteirin
  • 14:05 - 14:40: The Phenomenology of Programming - Robin Hill
  • 14:40 - 15:15: Programs as tools for knowledge - Henri Salha

15:15 - 15:45: Coffee break

15:45 - 17:30: Languages and paradigms

  • 15:45 - 16:20: Babbage's presentation of the calculating machines: the mechanical notation - Susan Ford
  • 16:20 - 16:55: Influences between logic programming and proof theory - Dale Miller
  • 16:55 - 17:30: What can a 1980s BASIC programming textbook teach us today? - Martin Mariusz Lester

Contact and post-proceedings

HaPoP4 co-chairs are Tomas Petricek and Ursula Martin and you can find a list of programme committee members on a separate page. If you have any questions regarding suitability of a topic or format of the extended abstract, please contact Tomas at [email protected]. For quick questions, you can also use @tomaspetricek on Twitter.

We intend to submit a proposal for a special issue of Interdisciplinary Science Reviews journal and publish selected paper in the journal following the symposium. More information will be announced through HAPOC (Comission for the History and Philosophy of Computing) after the symposium. Please join HAPOC to receive updates.