Who Begat Computing?
Moshe Y. Vardi
January 1, 2013
The Turing Centenary is now behind us and we can afford some reflection on what has transpired. There is a risk, however, that in our focus on highlighting Turing's seminal contributions we may have gone from celebration to hagiography.
Pierre Levy tell us that the history of computing (as indeed perhaps any history) is more like a distribution of indefinite creative moments and places, a sort of meta-network rutted, unmade, irregular, in which each node, each actor, defined in terms of its ends to its own network topology and interprets in its own way everything that comes from neighbors. [...] In this view of things, the notions of precursor or founder, taken in an absolute sense, have little relevance. On the other hand, can discern whether certain operations on the part of actors who want to impose themselves as founders or designating the near past or recent, prestigious ancestors who appropriated proclaiming themselves his descendants. There is no unique "cause" or "factor", but circumstances occasions, people or groups to which individuals give different meanings. There are no "bloodlines" calm, peaceful succession, but sword blows from all sides, attempts escheates and endless processes around heritage.
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