How to Recognize a Dark Age

Anyone who has read CS papers from ~1960-1980 and compared the original-idea-density to those of today might think forbidden thoughts.

While meandering through stories of unorthodox computational architectures, I was overcome with a sharp feeling of “where are they now?” Who stole the original thinkers of that era, and planted type-theoretical bureaucrats in their place?

Fortunately, the “golden age” works are still in existence (albeit languishing in obscurity on dusty shelves.) They await the patient software archaeologists.

How does one recognize a Dark Age? When it appears that all you must do to turn a field upside-down is to dig out a few decades-old papers and implement the contents, there might as well be a flashing neon “You Are Here” sign, planted squarely in that ominously shaded section of the time line.

This entry was written by Stanislav , posted on Friday May 30 2008 , filed under Hot Air, Papers, Philosophy, ShouldersGiants, SoftwareArchaeology . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

2 Responses to “How to Recognize a Dark Age”

  • [...] of time-servers will live and die, but the forgotten jewels will wait patiently for the next explorer, the next brave soul who is not afraid of [...]

  • Internaut says:

    I know exactly what you mean.

    I have a small catalogue of amazing CS papers, some truly brilliant ideas that were never implemented.

    There are a small number of interesting projects out there, like Urbit but it is amazing how few ‘big idea’ projects there actually are.

    It’s also interesting how G. Hinton’s reinvention of neural networking was based on teasing out and correcting an old error. It hints that there just aren’t that many eyeballs out there actually looking around.

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