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Aug 03

Dijkstra’s Codex

Salon called Dijkstra’s periodic writings a proto-blog. Apparently he used to keep a series of sequentially numbered letters which discussed a manner of issues, musings and notes to send to a few dozen of his colleagues:

Like most of us, Edsger always believed it a scientist’s duty to maintain a lively correspondence with his scientific colleagues. To a greater extent than most of us, he put that conviction into practice. For over four decades, he mailed copies of his consecutively numbered technical notes, trip reports, insightful observations, and pungent commentaries, known collectively as “EWDs”, to several dozen recipients in academia and industry. Thanks to the ubiquity of the photocopier and the wide interest in Edsger’s writings, the informal circulation of many of the EWDs eventually reached into the thousands.

Sort of like the Leicester Codex, except that Leonardo couldn’t really send his pages off to anyone else (not that he would have wanted to, given the code he wrote in). His archive of writings is available here: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/. There are a few interesting notes amongst all the EWDs.