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A Catalogue of Optimizing Transformations (1971) [pdf] (rice.edu)
33 points by luu 19 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 7 comments



Notes from an earlier era, when computer science was still emerging (separating from mathematics & engineering) and a lot of legitimate work was still “stamp collecting”.*

I remember (I was a kid but watched it — I was fascinated by all things computing thanks to the Apollo program) that in the 70s and early 80s nobody had any idea who might make good a good programmer so would hire musicians, philosophy majors, poets, and math majors. Also a disproportionate number of women, still a small number in that more sexist age, but more than traditional engineering professions in that age. And you can see reflected in the two authors of this paper.

* I used the scare quotes around “stamp collecting” in case the term is unfamiliar and comes off as denigrating, which it is not. The term is not mine: it reflects that most fields start out that way (botany, zoology, biology, chemistry, physics...) until there is a large enough corpus for people to start reasoning about them.


Unfortunately Allen passed away quite recently: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24066832. Her contributions to optimizations that form the basis of compilers today is substantial.



This is neat, does anyone know what font this is?


That looks like Pica from an IBM Selectric typewriter.

IBM in 1971, probably photo typeset. The heading type and lines look like those rub-off transfers from Letraset.

I'm just guessing. I do recall doing some paste-up direct from a phototypesetting machine at a small town newspaper around 1981, but I don't recall how that worked. We just did page layout with wax-coated positives, the machine spit those out by magic. Middle school, details are vague.

But I put in some hours on my Dad's Selectric. It was awesome.


I happen to have been looking at IBM typewriter fonts recently -- https://archive.org/details/IBM-SelectricIITypewriter-Correc... -- so I can say it's actually Courier; the uppercase A is an easy giveaway. You can see all the other body fonts there too; Light Italic for the italics, except for some keywords at the start of lists which are Courier Italic; the page headers are Letter Gothic, as are I think the headings (though I thought it was lowercase Orator at first so I think these fonts are all running together for me).


Excellent! Thanks!

This got me browsing online for the font balls for these things. Dangerous; my nerd space is overdue for purge as it is.

But have at it: https://www.shopgoodwill.com/Item/102974032




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