Late Robin Milner

The following will be of interest to many of us:

We are sorry to announce that Robin Milner died on Saturday 20th March, in Cambridge, just three days after the funeral of his wife, Lucy.

He will be greatly missed by his family and friends, as well as the academic community.

We are expecting there to be a symposium in due course to provide an opportunity for Robin's many academic colleagues to celebrate him and his work.

From Chloë and Barney Milner

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The Passing of a Giant

While recently spending a lot of time studying his latest book on bigraphs, I often found myself remembering in amazement the astounding number of major contributions Robin Milner has made to his field, and that he was continuing to do so in what for anyone else might be late career.

So I'm confident that it is not just the shock of this sad news that prompts me to say: this is the passing of a giant.


Agreed on all points. This truly is a sad day.

Bigraphs - Tantalizing.

Thanks for the link to the book on Bigraphs.

Sort of Tantalizing, almost, almost, what I'm looking for.

Here is my problem, perhaps you can advise me whether Bigraphs apply, or whether something else would be more suitable.

I have 2000+ C files which get compiled and linked into N products.

Fine grained managing and selecting that many files gets way too complex, so I have divided them into directories or "managable chunks".

These directories or chunks are the basic "units of assignment to a deliverable". ie. I can select a directory full of files and include it in (or exclude it from) any product.

Now there is a strict digraph between these chunks.

If a file x in set X refers to a symbol declared in file y in chunk Y, then X depends on Y. ie. If X is assigned to a product, so must Y.

Now all this works by far the best if...

* Everything is acyclic.
* Coupling is low.
* Cohesion is high.
* The definition of the symbol is in the same chunk as the declaration (or a weak symbol is provided).

I feel certain that the current assignment of files to directories is far from optimal, and that I could devise an algorithm to improve it.

Reading the excerpt from that book makes me wonder if the author hadn't worked on a similar problem. Certainly my problem is a constrained subset of all possible bigraphs.

Not the first stop

Here is my problem, perhaps you can advise me whether Bigraphs apply, or whether something else would be more suitable.

While the description of your problem is such that I can imagine going about modeling it with bigraphs, I think they are probably several levels too abstract to give you a direct help in the short term.

(I seem to recall another thread here recently about dependency management; that would probably give you more directly helpful pointers.)

Bigraphs essentially take the pi calculus to the next level to "ubiquitous computation", and seem to have been taken up enthusiastically by the bio-computing crowd.

To be honest, my inner jury is still out on whether they are "the thing" or not, but there is no doubt they represent some brilliantly elucidated work.

Interview with Robin Milner

Don't miss this interview with Robin Milner.

Sad day indeed, RIP Robin

Sad day indeed, RIP Robin Milner.


Times online has a biography.

“Programming was not a very beautiful thing. I resolved I would never go near a computer in my life,” he remembered later.

Sad news

As many have said - sad news. My condolences to Robin's family.

RIP Robin.