[vox] [fwd] ACCU: Wednesday, June 8 - Peter Seibel, "They Call It Code for a Reason: Code is Not Literature" [Mtn View]

Bill Kendrick nbs at sonic.net
Wed Jun 1 08:33:18 PDT 2011

----- Forwarded message from Ali Cehreli <acehreli at gmail.com> -----

Date: Wed, 1 Jun 2011 00:29:53 -0700
From: Ali Cehreli <acehreli at gmail.com>
Subject: ACCU: Wednesday, June 8 - Peter Seibel, "They Call It Code for a
 Reason: Code is Not Literature"
To: acehreli at yahoo.com
Reply-To: acehreli at yahoo.com

When:      Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Topic:     They Call It Code for a Reason: Code is Not Literature
Speaker:   Peter Seibel
Time:      6:30pm doors open
          7:00pm meeting begins
Where:     Symantec
          VCAFE building
          350 Ellis Street (near E. Middlefield Road)
          Mountain View, CA 94043
Map:       <http://tinyurl.com/334rv5>
Directions: VCAFE is accessible from the semicircular courtyard
between Symantec buildings <http://tinyurl.com/2dccgc>
Cost:      Free
More Info: <http://www.accu-usa.org>

Computer scientists as eminent as Donald Knuth, have argued that
computer programs are a kind of literature: "Programming is best
regarded as the process of creating works of literature, which are
meant to be read." Abelson and Sussman strike a similar tone in their
classic Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs: "programs
must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines
to execute".

But do programmers really read code like literature? We read code when
we have to: to fix a bug, to add a feature, or, occasionally, to learn
some specific technique or algorithm that is used in the code. But it
is the rare programmer who regularly sits down with a piece of code to
read just for fun.

Peter Seibel explores why reading code is so hard, whether we should
actually expect to be able to read code like literature, and what the
answers to those questions tell us about how to write better code.

Peter Seibel is either a writer turned programmer or programmer turned
writer. After picking up an undergraduate degree in English and
working briefly as a journalist, he was seduced by the web. In the
early 90s he hacked Perl for Mother Jones Magazine and Organic Online.
He participated in the Java revolution as an early employee at
WebLogic and later taught Java programming at UC Berkeley Extension.
He is also one of the few second generation Lisp programmers on the
planet and was a childhood shareholder in Symbolics, Inc. In 2003 he
quit his job as the architect of a Java-based transactional messaging
system, planning to hack Lisp for a year. Instead he ended up spending
two years writing the Jolt Productivity Award???winning Practical Common
Lisp. His most recent book is Coders at Work, a collection of Q&A
interviews with fifteen notable programmers and computer scientists.
When not writing books and programming computers he enjoy practicing
Tai Chi. He live in Berkeley, California, with his wife Lily,
daughters Amelia and Tabitha, and dog Mahlanie.

Meetings are open to the public and are free of charge.

The ACCU meets monthly. Meetings are always open to the public and are
free of charge. To suggest topics and speakers please email Walter
Vannini via walterv at gbbservices.com

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