terça-feira, 23 de maio de 2006

Matemáticos programando

Trecho de uma entrevista com o criador do STL:

What is the origin of STL? Has STL been conceived to be what it is now, that is "the" C++ Standard Library, or does it come from some other project? Could you tell us a history of STL?

In 1976, still back in the USSR, I got a very serious case of food poisoning from eating raw fish. While in the hospital, in the state of delirium, I suddenly realized that the ability to add numbers in parallel depends on the fact that addition is associative. (So, putting it simply, STL is the result of a bacterial infection.) In other words, I realized that a parallel reduction algorithm is associated with a semigroup structure type. That is the fundamental point:
algorithms are defined on algebraic structures. It took me another couple of years to realize that you have to extend the notion of structure by adding complexity requirements to regular axioms. And than it took 15 years to make it work. (I am still not sure that I have been successful in getting the point across to anybody outside the small circle of my friends.) I believe that iterator theories are as central to Computer Science as theories of rings or Banach spaces are central to Mathematics. Every time I would look at an algorithm I would try to find a structure on which it is defined. So what I wanted to do was to describe algorithms generically. That's what I like to do. I can spend a month working on a well known algorithm trying to find its generic representation. So far, I have been singularly unsuccessful in explaining to people that this is an important activity. But, somehow, the result of the activity - STL - became quite successful."

Matemáticos programando...

O resto da entrevista esta aqui: http://www.stlport.org/resources/StepanovUSA.html

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