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这对搭档斩获2021年图灵奖

这对搭档斩获2021年图灵奖

JEREMY KAHN 2021年04月07日
阿霍和乌尔曼已经合作了30多年,合著了一系列关于编程语言、数据和算法的奠基性教科书,塑造了一整代计算机科学家的思维。

阿尔弗雷德·阿霍和杰弗里·乌尔曼因为在编程语言领域的研究获得了今年计算机科学界的诺贝尔奖——图灵奖。

阿霍和乌尔曼已经合作了30多年,合著了一系列关于编程语言、数据和算法的奠基性教科书,塑造了一整代计算机科学家的思维。他们在编译器理论方面的研究尤其出名。编译器是一种将指令从抽象的编程语言(如数据库专用语言SQL)转换为计算机可以执行的机器码的软件。

“阿霍和乌尔曼建立了关于算法、形式语言、编译器和数据库的基本原理,对于今天编程和软件环境的发展至关重要。”杰夫·迪恩说,他是一位享誉盛名的谷歌工程师兼高管,现在是谷歌的高级研究员以及谷歌研究和谷歌健康的高级副总裁。

图灵奖每年由美国计算机协会(ACM)颁发。获奖者将分享100万美元奖金,由谷歌资助。该奖项以开创了现代计算机基础的英国数学家阿兰·图灵命名。

今年的图灵奖获奖者阿霍和乌尔曼的合作经历始于上世纪60年代末的贝尔实验室,当时两人都已获得了普林斯顿大学的博士学位。他们最初的研究重点是开发更高效的算法和翻译编程语言。尽管乌尔曼1969年离开了贝尔实验室回到学术界,并最终在斯坦福大学任教(目前是该校的名誉教授),但两人仍继续一起写书。

1974年,他们出版了《计算机算法的设计与分析》(The Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms),十多年来,这本书一直是算法课程的标准教科书。该书将单个算法划分为更一般的设计类别,至今仍在该领域发挥着巨大的影响。

三年后,阿霍和乌尔曼出版了《编译器设计原理》(Principles of Compiler Design),再次成为经典之作,教导一代又一代的学生如何创建编译器,如何思考计算机语言理论。这本书被计算机科学专业的学生称为“龙之书”,因为封面上印了一条龙,看起来就像哈利·波特会在霍格沃茨带着走来走去的魔法大部头,只不过那时候哈利波特这个虚拟人物还没有诞生。 “我经常听人说,因为这个有趣的封面,“龙之书”更能吸引学生来学习计算机科学。”乌尔曼说,“很多学生喜欢在校园里夹着这本怪书的感觉。”

阿霍在贝尔实验室工作了30多年,目前是哥伦比亚大学的计算机科学名誉教授,他说自己在这家著名的企业实验室工作期间,亲身感受到了设计编程语言的重要性,可以让需要使用电脑在数学、化学或排版等特定领域开展工作的人无需成为电脑运行专家就可以出色完成工作。乌尔曼将创建编程语言的艺术描述为“让程序员说最少的话,实现尽可能多的功能。”

阿霍和乌尔曼都表示,回顾自己的职业生涯,最满足的是看到自己对教过和指导过的学生产生的影响,他们的学生中有许多人现在在大型科技公司担任高级职位,发明了数不尽的编程语言。谷歌联合创始人谢尔盖·布林就是乌尔曼的博士生。

阿霍说,教授学生编程语言和算法的理论基础非常重要,部分原因是语言本身往往会受到流行趋势的影响。“如果看看学术界优先教给学生的编程语言,你会发现它一直在变化。”他指出。“一开始是C或C++,之后开始流行Pascal,现在Python似乎是第一选择。谁知道10年后、100年后、1000年后会是什么样子?”他补充道,“我们都认为,基本原理和抽象概念比眼下的技术更有生命力。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

阿尔弗雷德·阿霍和杰弗里·乌尔曼因为在编程语言领域的研究获得了今年计算机科学界的诺贝尔奖——图灵奖。

阿霍和乌尔曼已经合作了30多年,合著了一系列关于编程语言、数据和算法的奠基性教科书,塑造了一整代计算机科学家的思维。他们在编译器理论方面的研究尤其出名。编译器是一种将指令从抽象的编程语言(如数据库专用语言SQL)转换为计算机可以执行的机器码的软件。

“阿霍和乌尔曼建立了关于算法、形式语言、编译器和数据库的基本原理,对于今天编程和软件环境的发展至关重要。”杰夫·迪恩说,他是一位享誉盛名的谷歌工程师兼高管,现在是谷歌的高级研究员以及谷歌研究和谷歌健康的高级副总裁。

图灵奖每年由美国计算机协会(ACM)颁发。获奖者将分享100万美元奖金,由谷歌资助。该奖项以开创了现代计算机基础的英国数学家阿兰·图灵命名。

今年的图灵奖获奖者阿霍和乌尔曼的合作经历始于上世纪60年代末的贝尔实验室,当时两人都已获得了普林斯顿大学的博士学位。他们最初的研究重点是开发更高效的算法和翻译编程语言。尽管乌尔曼1969年离开了贝尔实验室回到学术界,并最终在斯坦福大学任教(目前是该校的名誉教授),但两人仍继续一起写书。

1974年,他们出版了《计算机算法的设计与分析》(The Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms),十多年来,这本书一直是算法课程的标准教科书。该书将单个算法划分为更一般的设计类别,至今仍在该领域发挥着巨大的影响。

三年后,阿霍和乌尔曼出版了《编译器设计原理》(Principles of Compiler Design),再次成为经典之作,教导一代又一代的学生如何创建编译器,如何思考计算机语言理论。这本书被计算机科学专业的学生称为“龙之书”,因为封面上印了一条龙,看起来就像哈利·波特会在霍格沃茨带着走来走去的魔法大部头,只不过那时候哈利波特这个虚拟人物还没有诞生。 “我经常听人说,因为这个有趣的封面,“龙之书”更能吸引学生来学习计算机科学。”乌尔曼说,“很多学生喜欢在校园里夹着这本怪书的感觉。”

阿霍在贝尔实验室工作了30多年,目前是哥伦比亚大学的计算机科学名誉教授,他说自己在这家著名的企业实验室工作期间,亲身感受到了设计编程语言的重要性,可以让需要使用电脑在数学、化学或排版等特定领域开展工作的人无需成为电脑运行专家就可以出色完成工作。乌尔曼将创建编程语言的艺术描述为“让程序员说最少的话,实现尽可能多的功能。”

阿霍和乌尔曼都表示,回顾自己的职业生涯,最满足的是看到自己对教过和指导过的学生产生的影响,他们的学生中有许多人现在在大型科技公司担任高级职位,发明了数不尽的编程语言。谷歌联合创始人谢尔盖·布林就是乌尔曼的博士生。

阿霍说,教授学生编程语言和算法的理论基础非常重要,部分原因是语言本身往往会受到流行趋势的影响。“如果看看学术界优先教给学生的编程语言,你会发现它一直在变化。”他指出。“一开始是C或C++,之后开始流行Pascal,现在Python似乎是第一选择。谁知道10年后、100年后、1000年后会是什么样子?”他补充道,“我们都认为,基本原理和抽象概念比眼下的技术更有生命力。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

Alfred Aho and Jeffrey Ullman have won this year’s Turing Award, computer science’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, for their work on programming languages.

Through more than three decades of collaboration, Aho and Ullman coauthored a series of seminal textbooks on programming languages, data, and algorithms that shaped the thinking of a generation of computer scientists. They are particularly known for their work on the theory of compilers, a type of software that converts instructions from an abstract programming language, such as the database-specific language SQL, into the machine code that the computer executes.

“Aho and Ullman established bedrock ideas about algorithms, formal languages, compilers, and databases, which were instrumental in the development of today’s programming and software landscape,” said Jeff Dean, a storied Google engineer and executive who is currently the company’s senior fellow and senior vice president at Google Research and Google Health.

The Turing Award is given annually by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). The winners share a $1 million prize, which Google helps fund. The prize is named for Alan Turing, the British mathematician who developed the foundations of modern computing.

This year’s Turing winners began their collaboration at Bell Labs in the late 1960s, after both received Ph.D.s from Princeton University. They initially worked on developing more efficient algorithms and translating programming languages. Although Ullman left Bell Labs to return to academia in 1969, eventually ending up at Stanford University, where he is currently a professor emeritus, the two continued to write books together.

In 1974, they published The Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms, which became the standard textbook for courses on algorithms for more than a decade. The book was influential for grouping individual algorithms into more general design categories which continued to exert great influence on the field.

Three years later, Aho and Ullman published Principles of Compiler Design, which also became a classic, teaching generations of students how to create compilers and how to think about the theory of computer languages. The textbook became known as “the Dragon Book” among computer science students because it featured a dragon on its cover, resembling some magical tome Harry Potter might cart around Hogwarts, except the fictional wizard hadn’t been invented yet. “I am often told that putting this funny cover on the Dragon Book attracted students to study computer science,” Ullman says. “A lot of students liked the idea of walking around campus with this weird book under their arm.”

Aho, who worked at Bell Labs for more than 30 years and is currently a computer science professor emeritus at Columbia University, says that while at the famed corporate lab he saw firsthand the importance of designing programming languages that would work well for people who needed computers to perform work in a specific field, such as mathematics or chemistry or typesetting, without having to be experts in how computers functioned. Ullman describes the art of creating programming languages as “enabling the programmer to say as little as possible and have as much happen as possible.”

Both Aho and Ullman say that when they look back on their careers, they are most gratified by the impact they have had on students they have taught and mentored, many of whom now hold senior posts at major technology companies and have invented numerous programming languages. Among Ullman’s Ph.D. students was Google cofounder Sergey Brin.

Aho says that it was important to give students a grounding in the theory of programming languages and algorithms, in part because the languages themselves tend to be subject to changing fashion. “If you look at the first programming languages taught to students in academia, it changes all the time,” he notes. “It was C or C++, and then Pascal was popular, and now Python seems to be the first programming language. Who knows what it will be 10 years from now, 100 years from now, 1,000 years from now?” He adds, “We both feel fundamentals and abstractions have more staying power than the technology of the moment.”

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