I see you are confused about what constitutes cultural appropriation. I would like to provide you with resources and information on the subject so that you can better understand what our concerns are. However, I also want you to have a brief summary of some of the more salient points so that you do not assume you are merely being called a racist, and so that I do not become frustrated with your defensive refusal to discuss the topic on those grounds.
Dijkstra introduces the topic of his letter, which is that he has noticed that goto statements are mostly detrimental to the programs in which they appear. He proposes that goto statements should be abolished from all high-level programming languages.
Yet, once the program has been made, the "making" of the corresponding process is delegated to the machine.
This just means that the actual activity performed by a programmer is not simply writing programs, but controlling the action of the code as it is executed on an actual machine.
However, he states, once the programmer has written a working program, the actual execution of the program is entirely under the control of the machine itself.
Dijkstra uses the term correct to describe a program that has no errors, or in current parlance, has no bugs. This terminology reflects the belief at the time that code could be written which could be formally verified, i.
My second remark is that our intellectual powers are rather geared to master static relations and that our powers to visualize processes evolving in time are relatively poorly developed. For that reason we should do as wise programmers aware of our limitations our utmost to shorten the conceptual gap between the static program and the dynamic process, to make the correspondence between the program spread out in text space and the process spread out in time as trivial as possible.
Here Dijkstra observes that humans are better at visualizing static relationships than dynamic relationships. Thus, he argues, we should minimize the difference between the two when expressed as program code, so that the dynamic nonconstant aspects of the program are evident in the structure of the source code itself.
This is generally true in most current programming languages, the majority of which operate in a linear, statement-by-statement fashion. Let us now consider how we can characterize the progress of a process.
You may think about this question in a very concrete manner: Dijkstra begins to construct a formal definition of program execution, or what he calls progress of a process. It must be remembered that many of the terms we take for granted today were not firmly established place at the time, and there was no commonly accepted language or pseudo-language in use for discusing algorithms and programs.
Today, of course, a writer would use a concrete language such as C, Java, Pascal, LISP, or a pseudo-language bearing a strong resemblance to one of these languages as a lingua franca for illustrating programming concepts.
Let us call such a pointer to a suitable place in the text a "textual index. This reflects the dual nature of programming tasks that he mentioned previously, these being related to the sequential nature of executing one statement or action after another, i. His term textual index is essentially a program counter.
However, he is attempting to go beyond simply tracking the location of the current execution thread, to making an explicit connection between a statement in the source code text and a program execution state. Dijkstra introduces more complex flow control statements such as if-then-else conditional statements and case a.
This reflects the fact that, at the time, much effort was being made to formulate the best minimal set of flow control structures for programming languages and for programming theory in general. A major goal of all of this effort was to create a nomeclature that could be used not just for actual programming languages, but which also could be used directly for mathematical formulations of programming algorithms.
As soon as we include in our language procedures we must admit that a single textual index is no longer sufficient. With the inclusion of procedures we can characterize the progress of the process via a sequence of textual indices, the length of this sequence being equal to the dynamic depth of procedure calling.
This is an observation that a single statement pointer is not sufficient to define the state of an executing program if the program employs subroutines variously known as procedures, functions, or methods.
This reflects what is known in modern parlance as a call stack, which is an array of program counters a. Since he is establishing an explicit relation between a textual index and the program execution state, though, it would be more correct to think of the call stack as an array of statement pointers.
The number of statement pointers needed is simply the number of procedure calls that are currently active at a given point in the execution, i. Logically speaking, such clauses are now superfluous, because we can express repetition with the aid of recursive procedures.
Dijkstra adds repetition control flow statements to the mix. This reflects the fact that, at that time, recursion was very much in vogue and was considered by many, especially the more academically inclined, to be a superior form of expressing programs and algorithms.
The reason for this popularity is that recursive definitions have a history of mathematical rigor - specifically, recursive formulas and recurrence relations, which deal with recursively defined sequences wherein each element in the sequence is defined in simpler terms using previous elements in the sequence.
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