[Newbies] Re: Smalltalk Data Structures and Algorithms

David Mitchell david.mitchell at gmail.com
Fri Jul 24 13:18:30 UTC 2009

I think K.K. is referring to the writings of Alan Kay, who is pretty
authoritative when it comes to Smalltalk. In his paper, The Early
History of Smalltalk, published by the ACM in History of Programming
Languages II (1993).

"My biology minor had focused on both cell metabolism and larger scale
morphogenesis with its notions of simple mechanisms controlling
complex processes and one kind of building block able to differentiate
into all needed building blocks. The 220 file system, the B5000,
Sketchpad, and finally Simula, all used the same idea for different
purposes. Bob Barton, the main designer of the B5000 and a professor
at Utah had said in one of his talks a few days earlier: "The basic
principal of recursive design is to make the parts have the same power
as the whole." For the first time I thought of the whole as the entire
computer and wondered why anyone would want to divide it up into
weaker things called data structures and procedures. Why not divide it
up into little computers, as time sharing was starting to? But not in
dozens. Why not thousands of them, each simulating a useful structure?

Online here: http://gagne.homedns.org/~tgagne/contrib/EarlyHistoryST.html

On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 1:37 AM, Benjamin L.
Russell<DekuDekuplex at yahoo.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 29 Jun 2009 11:25:34 +0530, "K. K. Subramaniam"
> <subbukk at gmail.com> wrote:
>>Concepts in Squeak have their origins
>>in biology rather than in computational math. The boundary between 'hardware'
>>and 'software' is blurry. See the reading list at
>>   http://www.squeakland.org/resources/books/readingList.jsp
>>particularly "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins.
> Richard O'Keefe refutes this claim in his post [1] "Re: Re: [Haskell]
> Re: 20 years ago," dated "2009-07-16 01:38:14 GMT," on the
> Haskell-Cafe mailing list (see
> http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.comp.lang.haskell.cafe/61329);
> _viz._:
>>>> Concepts in Squeak [a dialect and implementation of Smalltalk] have
>>> their origins
>>>> in biology rather than in computational math....
>>That posting is wrong.
>>Smalltalk's roots are very firmly planted in Lisp,
>>with perhaps a touch of Logo (which also had its roots in Lisp).
>>The classic Smalltalk-76 paper even contains a meta-circular
>>interpreter, which I found reminiscent of the old Lisp one.
>>The "biological" metaphor in Smalltalk is actually a SOCIAL
>>metaphor: sending and receiving messages, and a "social"
>>model of agents with memory exchanging messages naturally
>>leads to anthropomorphisms.
>>The other classic OO language, which inspired C++, which
>>inspired Java, which inspired C#, is Simula 67, which has
>>its roots in Algol 60.  While Simula 67 was sometimes used
>>for simulating biological processes, the main background
>>was discrete event systems like factories and shops; there
>>are no biological metaphors in Simula.
> -- Benjamin L. Russell
> [1] O'Keefe, Richard. "Re: Re: [Haskell] Re: 20 years ago."
> gmane.comp.lang.haskell.cafe. Gmane. 16 July 2009. 24 July 2009.
> <http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.comp.lang.haskell.cafe/61329>.
> --
> Benjamin L. Russell  /   DekuDekuplex at Yahoo dot com
> http://dekudekuplex.wordpress.com/
> Translator/Interpreter / Mobile:  +011 81 80-3603-6725
> "Furuike ya, kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto."
> -- Matsuo Basho^
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