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Alan Kay Receives ACM Turing Award 120

Posted by michael
from the longbeards dept.
TheAncientHacker writes "Alan Kay, the creator of the Smalltalk computer language (and a good deal of what we call Object Oriented Programming) is the winner of this year's Turing Award from the ACM. Kay is also the co-winner of this year's Charles Stark Draper Prize. For more, check out the website of Kay's latest project, Squeak - an open, highly-portable Smalltalk-80 implementation go to the Squeak homepage or the page of the SqueakLand community which uses Squeak in schools. For more on Kay's Turing Award, see this article on the SqueakLand site." Couple of other awards to announce: bth writes "The Association for Computing Machinery announced that it has recognized Dr. Stuart I. Feldman for creating a seminal piece of software engineering known as Make. Almost every software developer in the world has used Make, or one of its descendants, as a tool for maintaining computer software. Dr. Feldman will receive the 2003 ACM Software System Award." And finally, squidfrog writes "Nick Holonyak Jr., inventor of the LED, is being awarded the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize at a ceremony in Washington. Edith Flanigen, 75, was also recognized, with the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award for her work on a new generation of 'molecular sieves,' porous crystals that can separate molecules by size."
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Alan Kay Receives ACM Turing Award

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  • MVC too? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UrgleHoth (50415) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:24AM (#8938591) Homepage
    Doesn't the model-view-controller pattern originally come from smalltalk?
    • Re:MVC too? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:28AM (#8938639)
      I'm pretty sure it did. Interestingly, the modern comercial Smalltalks have moved beyond MVC. Squeak uses Morphic. From Smalltalk's point of view, MVC is so early 90s
      • Re:MVC too? (Score:4, Informative)

        by joeyGibson (30462) <joeyNO@SPAMjoeygibson.com> on Thursday April 22, 2004 @10:56AM (#8939595) Homepage
        Cincom Smalltalk, which is the descendant of VisualWorks, still uses MVC. Dolphin, an excellent commercial ST for Windows, uses a modified version of MVC called MVP - Model View Presenter. Squeak is, to my knowledge, the only ST that has really deviated from MVC in a meaningful way. And it certainly isn't commercial.
        • Re:MVC too? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Fearless Freep (94727)
          >Cincom Smalltalk, which is the descendant of VisualWorks, still uses MVC. Dolphin

          Sort of. It uses a secondary layer on top, "VisualWorks", the manages the interations between the models and the controllers and views. Then the UIBuilder builds to this structure. It makes it a lot easier to use. Technicaly it's down there but you don't have to worry about it much

          MVP is a pretty good improvement over MVC

          It's been awhile since I used VisualAge and they use something else, with a Bridge pattern thrown
    • Re:MVC too? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Espen (96293) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @12:36PM (#8940821)
      The MVC pattern was invented by Trygve Reenskaug [ifi.uio.no] and later implemented for the SmallTalk-80 class library by others at Xerox Park.
    • Yes. That was all Kay's ideas. The term 'object-oriented' too.

      I invented the term 'object-oriented' and I can tell you I did not have C++ in mind.
      -- Alan Kay

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:28AM (#8938631)
    SteveBurbeck once told me this AlanKay story from his days at Apple.

    A lot of the developers and managers at Apple were gathered around watching a presentation from someone about some "wonderful" new product that would save the world. All through the presentation, he had been stating that the product was "object-oriented" while he blathered on.

    Finally, someone at the back of the room piped up:

    "So, this product doesn't support inheritance, right?"
    "that's right".
    "And it doesn't support polymorphism, right?"
    "that's right"
    "And it doesn't support encapsulation, right?"
    "that's correct".
    "So, it doesn't seem to me like it's object-oriented".
    To which the presenter huffily responded,
    "Well, who's to say what's object-oriented and what's not?"

    At this point the person replied,
    "I am. I'm AlanKay and I invented the term."
    • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:43AM (#8938763) Homepage Journal
      watching a presentation from someone
      Niklaus Wirth [uni-trier.de]
      about some "wonderful" new product
      Project Oberon...
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:55AM (#8938865)
        It wasn't Wirth, it was someone who worked for him. The story is ripped off verbatim from here [c2.com]
        • Thank you AC... I stand corrected. (And by an AC, too. Oh, the shame.) :)
          • Jeeze man. Oberon supports inheritance and polymorphism. At least, I think it does, but it's been a while since I used it.
            • According to the linked Wiki page, the talk was with regard to Oberon 1, which did not support inheritance or polymorphism. Oberon 2, they claim, does support those features.
              • yarr, then that'd be the reason for me thinking it did. :)

                the oberon system is pretty fun to play with, for those of you out there who like to play with new and funky languages, OSes and window systems. Like Squeak Smalltalk, it's a self-contained OS, with it's own widget set and windowing system that exists parallel to win32/x11/quartz, being blitted to one big window. A lot of fun to play with, although the stodgy Pascal-like language of Oberon itself is a bit too formal for me, and I prefer Squeak. But
    • by davidstrauss (544062) <david@davidst r a u s s . n et> on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:44AM (#8938770)
      SteveBurbeck once told me this AlanKay story from his days at Apple.

      ...and my CS professor StephenKeckler was just awarded the GraceHopper award.

      Are you an overworked sysadmin? Do you manually assign so many logins that you normalize all full names?

      • Maybe he is used to using WiKis :).. That's what I thought when I saw it.
      • by darkonc (47285) <stephen_samuel.bcgreen@com> on Thursday April 22, 2004 @01:03PM (#8941173) Homepage Journal
        Grace Hopper was at the University of Alberta, in the early 80'. At a reception for her, she was talking to a friend of mine (who shall remain unnamed), and commented that there were a number of people at the University who had done a lot of work on the early days of Cobol, and wondered why there was so little (almost no) mention of it in the department.

        "Maybe they're ashamed of it!" quipped my friend, in reply.

        Another (better informed) friend quickly pulled him aside and explained that Grace had been one of the prime movers in the design of Cobol.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          One of the reasons that Adm. Hopper was so cool was that she would have wholeheartedly agreed with your friend.

          It was a great regret of hers that COBOL remained the state of the art for as long as it did. She never intended for it to become an entrenched obstacle to CS progress for 30 years.
      • http://www.google.com/search?q=SteveBurbeck%20once %20told%20me%20this%20AlanKay%20story%20from%20his %20days%20at%20Apple
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:50AM (#8938828)
      Reminds me of the "Magical Microsoft Moments" story:

      I've been attending the USENIX NT and LISA NT (Large Installation Systems Administration for NT) conference in downtown Seattle this week.

      One of those magical Microsoft moments(tm) happened yesterday and I thought that I'd share. Non-geeks may not find this funny at all, but those in geekdom (particularly UNIX geekdom) will appreciate it.

      Greg Sullivan, a Microsoft product manager (henceforth MPM), was holding forth on a forthcoming product that will provide Unix style scripting and shell services on NT for compatibility and to leverage UNIX expertise that moves to the NT platform. The product suite includes the MKS (Mortise Kern Systems) windowing Korn shell, a windowing PERL, and lots of goodies like awk, sed and grep. It actually fills a nice niche for which other products (like the MKS suite) have either been too highly priced or not well enough integrated.

      An older man, probably mid-50s, stands up in the back of the room and asserts that Microsoft could have done better with their choice of Korn shell. He asks if they had considered others that are more compatible with existing UNIX versions of KSH.

      The MPM said that the MKS shell was pretty compatible and should be able to run all UNIX scripts.

      The questioner again asserted that the MKS shell was not very compatible and didn't do a lot of things right that are defined in the KSH language spec.

      The MPM asserted again that the shell was pretty compatible and shouldwork quite well.

      This assertion and counter assertion went back and forth for a bit, when another fellow member of the audience announced to the MPM that the questioner was, in fact David Korn of AT&T (now Lucent) Bell Labs--the author of the Korn shell.

      Uproarious laughter burst forth from the audience, and it was one of the only times that I have seen a (by then pink cheeked) MPM lost for words or momentarily lacking the usual unflappable confidence.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:52AM (#8938848)
      "I invented the term ObjectOriented, and C++ isn't what I had in mind"
    • No he did not (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Kristen Nygaard invented object-oriented programming together with Ole-Johan Dahl at the Norwegian Computing Center.
      • true, however, the quote was, "I am. I'm AlanKay and I invented the term." which is still accurate.
    • Unless I'm missing something, this sounds apocryphal to me. To wit:

      ST does support single inheritance.
      ST does support polymorphism.
      ST mandates encapsulation.

      Sounds pretty OO to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In tribute to the pinnacle of achievement realized as a result of his invention, Mr. Holonyak will also be receiving a commemorative license plate frame with blinking LED marquee lights.
  • New generation? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Otter (3800) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:36AM (#8938709) Journal
    I was impressed that a 75 year old is doing cutting-edge work but this "new generation" of sieves seems to have actually been new in the 1950's. Good for her, in any case.
  • Surprising (Score:3, Informative)

    by andy666 (666062) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:38AM (#8938728)
    It is surprising that the chose not to honor Martin Davis of NYU, since so many OOP ideas are implicit in his work.
  • by phreakmonkey (548714) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:42AM (#8938760) Homepage
    I seem to remember that PARC's LambdaMoo "MOOCode" was based partially on Smalltalk. (Oddly enough, I learned about OO programming from MOOcode.) It actually made a good model for learning OO concepts.

    -P.M.

    • by RevAaron (125240) <revaaronNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday April 22, 2004 @10:59AM (#8939621) Homepage
      From what I've read, LambdaMoo's language isn't derived directly from Smalltalk, though it is derived in a way similar to how Java is, though not in the way that Self or Objective-C are.

      LambdaMoo and similar systems are very cool, indeed. Something we bring up on the Squeak Smalltalk mailing list sometimes. In addition to the kind of stuff vanilla Smalltalk supports, in a MOO you've also (usually) got a multi-user system spread over multiple servers with full objectspersistance for free. badass.
    • I wrote a multiplayer web game in MOO-code; Stellation [sf.net]. (Now defunct. Server not running, web page very out of date, but the source is still available from CVS on Sourceforge.)

      It's a nice language. A bit baroque in places, but it has lots of nice features if you're programming this kind of thing; persistance (never need to worry about storing your data on disk!); incremental updates (connect to the server and fiddle with the code while it's up and running and serving requests!); a nice threading model (cooperative multitasking with teeth --- your thread has complete control until it suspends, but if you wait too long the thread's killed)... The VM is sophisticated enough that the game server runs its own web server.

      The language itself is sort-of garbage collected (parts are, parts aren't), object oriented with pure dynamic dispatch, has some very nice security measures which I didn't use in Stellation because I wasn't letting users program it, and generally behaves like a slightly gothic Smalltalk with C syntax. Very easy to get used to.

      If you're interested, check it out. I was really rather pleased with that game, and at its peak I got a reasonable number of players. It needs redesigning from the ground up, but I've yet to find a VM that's quite as nice as LambdaMOO for doing it in.

      (Anyone want to adopt it?)

  • by kahei (466208) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:49AM (#8938813) Homepage

    Cobbling together the mass of awkward syntax, unextendability, and tabs that is make ranks alongside actual advancement of human knowledge? I'd rather they'd awarded the prize on the basis of something other than sheer number of victims :)

    Thank goodness for Ant -- teaching the world that we don't need to use make any more was the best thing Java ever did for us.

    Hrm, well, that was my curmudgeonly rant for the day.

    • by alanxyzzy (666696) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @10:29AM (#8939270)
      Cobbling together the mass of awkward syntax, unextendability, and tabs that is make ranks alongside actual advancement of human knowledge?
      There is an anecdote (I can't vouch for its accuracy) that
      Stuart Feldman, the Bell Labs guy who invented "make", woke up one morning a few weeks after he'd released it, and realized that the syntax basically sucked - all those tabs and colons and weird continuation rules. He started working on something better and was shot down because someone said "Stuart, there are *dozens* of people using this, it's too late to change it."
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2004 @10:52AM (#8939544)
      the mass of awkward syntax . . . that is make ranks alongside actual advancement of human knowledge? I'd rather they'd awarded the prize on the basis of something other than sheer number of victims :)
      Thank goodness for Ant.


      <reply tone="sarcastic" style="parody" effectiveness="probably low">
      <conjunction value="Because"></conjunction>
      <gerund value="programming"></gerund>
      <preposition value="in"></preposition>
      <acronym value="XML"></acronym>
      <verb value="is"></verb>
      <adverb value="much"></adverb>
      <adverb value="less"></adverb>
      <adjective value="awkward"></adjective>
      </reply>
    • Is Ant better than SCONS?
      http://ant.apache.org/ [apache.org]
      http://www.scons.org/ [scons.org]

      Seriously, I'm just curious. I've heard a lot more about SCONS than Ant. For instance Blender [blender.org] is switching over to a SCONS build system.
  • ObQuote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grahamlee (522375) <iamleeg@gma i l . com> on Thursday April 22, 2004 @09:53AM (#8938854) Homepage Journal
    I invented the term Object-Oriented Programming, and I can tell you I didn't have C++ in mind Alan Kay, OOPSLA 1997.
  • Make! (Score:3, Funny)

    by pipacs (179230) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @10:01AM (#8938937)

    Make! Just about time. We would be ants without it.

  • by swapsn (701280) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @10:10AM (#8939061)
    please give him only half the prize money for having tabs as integral part of make syntax :-))


    yes, it was a joke
  • by YetAnotherName (168064) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @10:12AM (#8939088) Homepage
    SmallTalk was always an intriguing language to me, and mostly because it used some kind of integrated graphic shell, it used glyphs not found in US-ASCII, and there weren't any decent free SmallTalk environments available for the longest time.

    Now with Squeak [squeak.org] and this quick tutorial [mucow.com], it might be about time to explore SmallTalk.

    Besides, I've always wanted a real OO language where I could send the message "to:do:" to the object "1".
  • Squeak - old news (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Percent Man (756972)
    "Back in the day," an OOD class I took at Georgia Tech was taught in Squeak - which was widely held to be waning in favor even then. I don't see how it's groundbreaking now.

    Not to say it's good for nothing - Squeak is particularly good at web crawling apps, IIRC.

    As an added bit of trivia, I believe Squeak was so named because one of its biggest proponents is the Mouse himself [disney.com].
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 22, 2004 @10:33AM (#8939314)
      You should really take the time to get up to speed on the new stuff if you haven't paid attention since school.

      Check out this web-app technology [beta4.com] built (first) in squeak, now also available in the descendant to ParcPlace smalltalk (now Cincom Smalltalk [cincomsmalltalk.com])

      Also of interest is croquet [slashdot.org], a virtual 3d environment. I saw a live demo [cincomsmalltalk.com] of this where the presenter (David Smith, one of the engineers) showed his avatar moving between worlds existing one each on two separate machines. It was not fast, but not as slow as you might expect.

      Also, smalltalk solutions [smalltalksolutions.com] is next week (in Seattle) so come by if you're interested and available.

      P.S. what is now known as Squeak was started at Apple. The Squeak group left Apple during Amelio's reign when the company was gutting it's research depts.
    • Re:Squeak - old news (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RevAaron (125240)
      Squeak is indeed groundbreaking. That doesn't mean it's the best tool for every job, though. While it is in fact good for a lot of things, web crawling apps wouldn't be one of those that come to mind. I'd use perl most likely, and I'm an huge Squeak user and proponent.

      I can't say whether or not Squeak was named for Disney, although Squeak was developed under Disney for some years, with the team on Disney's payroll. However, Squeak was born at Apple in 95-96, before any Disney involvement.
  • We have a 6th grade math teacher in our school I work with who's been using Squeak to talk about various math concepts. The kids are really into it and constantly engaged. They get into making their own objects and it's a great jumping off point for me to teach them some rudimentary programming skills too.
  • by Dorsai42 (738671) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @10:35AM (#8939331)
    "Perspective is worth 50 points of IQ. -Alan Kay
  • Alan Kay is awesome (Score:4, Interesting)

    by streak (23336) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @11:04AM (#8939672) Journal
    So Alan Kay used to work in a segment of our offices devoted to Squeak development before he officially joined up with HP. I've met him a few times and I've worked very closely with one of his collegues who is actually leaving my company to join Alan again at HP.
    He is an amazing guy and Squeak is a pretty cool language/environment to program in.
    Its nice to see his work with Squeak finally being recognized. Word has it that he and some other people (including the guy who is leaving our company) are going to be working on some educational software in Squeak that will come with HP PCs.
  • by jabbadabbadoo (599681) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @11:07AM (#8939706)
    As a side note, Alan Kay took a lot of ideas from the original object oriented language, Simula [umich.edu], created by Norwegian researcher in the late 60's.

    Simula is still used and there is a research facility [simula.no] named after it.

  • Here's a good sample of what Smalltalk's about, from the Squeak site. [gatech.edu] (I hope that link is the right format.)
  • by redlum (27851) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @11:25AM (#8939938)
    Here's a presentation at Etech 2003 [lisarein.com] Alan Kay gave on some early computer projects that were way ahead of their time and he also demoed his latest project: Croquet -- which is a 3D collaborative environment pretty close to Metaverse.
  • My friend [smalltalk.org] will be real happy to hear about this. He's a serious smalltalk geek.
  • by Andy_R (114137) on Thursday April 22, 2004 @01:55PM (#8941768) Homepage Journal
    Since we can assume a Turing Award is an award capable of modelling all other awards, which makes it functionally equivalent to a Nobel Prize, Oscar, Grammy and Bronze Swimming Certificate.
  • According to the ACM site, Alan Kay received [acm.org] the award in 1987! This year, well last year to be precise, it goes to Stuart Feldman [acm.org].
  • My sincerest congratulations! This is an unbelievably prestigious award and in my opinion absolutely deserved in this case. Some people might not realize how hard it is to pass the Turing test. It is a really Big Deal. Bravo.
  • Dr. Kay's deep interest in children and education led him to use Smalltalk as an early vehicle for teaching computing concepts at the elementary school level. Good amount of /. posts have a proof of it where few teachers said that squeak was used to teach young students. Thanks and Congratulations Dr.Kay.

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