Friday, August 14, 2020

Early days of computer science at Harvard

The group of students who hung around the Aiken Computation Lab +/-50 years ago got together last February, and I wrote up an account of our collective memory for Harvard Magazine. There was a lot going on scientifically in a remarkably supportive and creative atmosphere, even though we were by no means a tier 1 CS program in those days. I have done my best to explain it here, but those of you who know what kind of atmosphere I always hoped for at Harvard may understand best what I am talking about. Hope you enjoy it!


  1. I was there at the end... or the beginning, depending on how you view it.

    Do you know if there are any ECL interpreter/compiler sources about?

    1. Too bad... I have a KL-10 simulator and have run Tops-10, Tops-20, and ITS... needs good software!

  2. Thank you for the article and the memories. In 1972-3, I took Applied Math 110 ("Digital Computer Fundamentals") from T.C. Bartee, AM113 ("Algorithms and Data Structures") from Thomas Cheatham, Linguistics 2?? from William Woods ("Generative Semantics"), and a senior tutorial with Susumu Kuno. Those were early steps in a fifty-year career as a software engineer.