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An Interview with Dana Scott

By Len Shustek

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 65 No. 8, Pages 25-29

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ACM fellow Dana Stewart Scott, the recipient jointly with Michael Rabin of the 1976 A.M. Turing Award for the concept of nondeterministic finite automata, has made seminal contributions spanning computing science, mathematics, philosophy, automata theory, modal logic, model theory, set theory, and the theory of programming languages. After receiving a B.A. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1950, and a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1958, he held faculty positions at the University of Chicago, UC Berkeley, and at Stanford, Princeton, Oxford, and Carnegie Mellon Universities. He retired as University Professor from CMU in 2003.

The distinguished theoretical computer scientist Gordon Plotkin conducted a series of four oral history interviews of Scott between November 2020 and February 2021. The interviews, the transcripts and videos of which are online,a cover primarily the period leading up to the 1976 ACM A.M. Turing Award. Presented here is a condensed and highly edited version, which includes some additional post-interview material provided by Scott.
Len Shustek


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