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**1 - 3**of**3**### The Advent of Recursion . . .

"... The term ‘recursive’ has had different meanings during the past two centuries among various communities of scholars. Its historical epistemology has already been described by Soare (1996) with respect to the mathematicians, logicians, and recursive-function theorists. The computer practitioners, on ..."

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The term ‘recursive’ has had different meanings during the past two centuries among various communities of scholars. Its historical epistemology has already been described by Soare (1996) with respect to the mathematicians, logicians, and recursive-function theorists. The computer practitioners, on the other hand, are discussed in this paper by focusing on the definition and implementation of the ALGOL60 programming language. Recursion entered ALGOL60 in two novel ways: (i) syntactically with what we now call BNF notation, and (ii) dynamically by means of the recursive procedure. As is shown, both (i) and (ii) were introduced by linguistically-inclined programmers who were not versed in logic and who, rather unconventionally, abstracted away from the down-to-earth practicalities of their computing machines. By the end of the 1960s, some computer practitioners had become aware of the theoretical insignificance of the recursive procedure in terms of computability, though without relying on recursive-function theory. The presented results help us to better understand the technological ancestry of modernday computer science, in the hope that contemporary researchers can more easily build upon its past.

### from Turing to Dijkstra”

"... Turing’s involvement with computer building was popularized in the 1970s and later. Most notable are the books by Brian Randell (1973), Andrew Hodges (1983), and Martin Davis (2000). A central question is whether John von Neumann was influenced by Turing’s 1936 paper when he helped build the EDVAC m ..."

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Turing’s involvement with computer building was popularized in the 1970s and later. Most notable are the books by Brian Randell (1973), Andrew Hodges (1983), and Martin Davis (2000). A central question is whether John von Neumann was influenced by Turing’s 1936 paper when he helped build the EDVAC machine, even though he never cited Turing’s work. This question remains unsettled up till this day. As remarked by Charles Petzold, one standard history barely mentions Turing, while the other, written by a logician, makes Turing a key player. Contrast these observations then with the fact that Turing’s 1936 paper was cited and heavily discussed in 1959 among computer programmers. In 1966, the first Turing award was given to a programmer, not a computer builder, as were several subsequent Turing awards. An historical investigation of Turing’s influence on computing, presented here, shows that Turing’s 1936 notion of universality became increasingly relevant among programmers during the 1950s. The central thesis of this paper states that Turing’s influence was felt more in programming after his death than in computer building during the 1940s. 1