Killer Props for Computer Scientist!

Who is the most thanked person in Computer Science? No, it's not Ehud Lamm, or Superman! It's...Olivier Danvy, famous PL researcher. PL research does pay (in...umm...intangible rewards).

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The full paper

The full paper is including the Top 10 list of most acknowledged individuals.

Most thanked company: IBM

When I worked at IBM years ago I was told "We do not do research, we are a service company". I could never reconcile that with the fact that IBM seemed to be behind a mass of interesting research. Looks like I'm just going to have to ignore what I was told.

From the paper

Lots of PL/CT people... Olivier Danvy, Luca Cardelli, Martin Abadi, Phil Wadler, Peter Lee, Matthias Felleisen, Benjamin Pierce, Frank Pfenning and Andrew Appel.

Not sure if John Ousterhout of Tcl fame counts as a PL guy :)

Lots of people from CMU. I wonder if that's a cultural artifact..

Re: Killer Props for Computer Scientist!

That suggests a simple scalar metric for measuring collaboration in computer science: the Danvy number.

Olivier's Danvy number is, of course, 0. Authors who have acknowledged Olivier have a Danvy number of 1. Authors (other than Olivier) who have acknowledged someone with a Danvy number of 1 but have not acknowledged Olivier himself have a Danvy number of 2. And so on.

Unlike the more-famous Erdos number, the difficutly here is keeping one's Danvy number up, since Olivier is so very likely to be acknowledged by those one acknowledges even if not by oneself.

I would like to thank Noel Welsh for bringing this article to my attention, and Olivier Danvy for inspiring the Danvy number.


As long as we're analyzing social factors in computer science, this may be of interest. An insightful and scientifically rigorous analysis of one factor contributing to programming language adoption.


If that analysis were true, we'd all be programming in Orwell, as anyone who has seen Phil Wadler's impressive facial hair can testify.


Insightful, yes, but apparently outdated by recent advances in the field. It seems that Guido van Rossum, original author of Python, now has a beard:

I heard that Matsumoto is growing one as well

Saw some pictures of Matsumoto with a beard (Ruby creator), but it's possible they were photoshopped. :-)

(Also notes that the collection of assorted characters was harvested from my PL People web page).

(Also notes that I must get round to adding Adriaan van Wijngaarden of Algol '68 fame to the page).

Serial killer connection?

Somehow, this must all tie in with the Language inventor or serial killer? quiz, although I'm not quite sure of the connection. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that in certain South Park and Star Trek alternate universes, people with beards are the evil counterparts of good people in our universe...