[Haskell] NYTimes.com: John W. Backus, 82, Fortran Developer, Dies

Dan Weston westondan at imageworks.com
Tue Mar 20 15:30:30 EDT 2007

I looked up John Backus on wikipedia and followed a link to ALGOL:
where the following "undesirable" property of call-by-name is mentioned.

"ALGOL 60 allowed for two evaluation strategies for parameter passing: 
the common call-by-value, and call-by-name. Call-by-name had certain 
limitations in contrast to call-by-reference, making it an undesirable 
feature in language design. For example, it is impossible in ALGOL 60 to 
develop a procedure that will swap the values of two parameters if the 
actual parameters that are passed in are an integer variable and an 
array that is indexed by that same integer variable. However, 
call-by-name is still beloved of ALGOL implementors for the interesting 
thunks that are used to implement it."

I suppose that call-by-name is still beloved of Haskell implementors as 

Dan Weston

paul.hudak at yale.edu wrote:

> John Backus, inventor of Fortran, Turing Award winner, and also an early 
> pioneer in functional programming, died Saturday at his home in Oregon. 
> Many of us have fond memories of him in the earlier days of our careers, 
> and we all owe a lot to him for giving credibility to functional 
> programming through his Turing Award lecture, "Can Programming Be 
> Libarated From the von Neumann style?" Here is an article from the New 
> York Times.
> * BUSINESS *   | March 20, 2007
> * John W. Backus, 82, Fortran Developer, Dies 
> <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/20/business/20backus.html?ex=1175054400&en=d76ca10764a7769f&ei=5070&emc=eta1> 

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