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My interest in context-free languages


Burroughs Corporation
Donald Knuth Scientist
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Burroughs was a company started in the 19th century, and was… and was quite pre-eminent in… in all… in the banking industry, almost everybody used… used equipment from Burroughs to… to do its accounting, and… and in the early days of computing, Burroughs acquired the Electrodata Corporation, in Pasadena, and they… they were one of the many companies putting out computer. And as… as I say, not only that, they had very innovative computers, and… and I liked the spirit of the… of all the employees working… working there as well. The… in the… later on, they were... they were acquired by Sperry Rand, this was in the 70s, I think, and became Unisys, combined with Sperry Rand. So… so half of… half of Unisys was… was former Burroughs Corporation, and the half of it was the Sperry, which… the Rand… Remington Rand… the people who… who had built the UNIVAC computer. The… that happened after I… after I was no longer in Pasadena. And… and they continued to… to have banks as their primary customer base, but then, in more recent years, the… you know, other… other companies survived, and there were many, many changes in the computer industry, to that time. So Burroughs was, you know, Edsger Dijkstra was also a consultant to Burroughs during the 60s, and he would come out to Pasadena, visit periodically, they… and it was… and it was a great company to work for in those days, I think.

Born in 1938, American computing pioneer Donald Knuth is known for his greatly influential multi-volume work, 'The Art of Computer Programming', his novel 'Surreal Numbers', his invention of TeX and METAFONT electronic publishing tools and his quirky sense of humor.

Listeners: Dikran Karagueuzian

Trained as a journalist, Dikran Karagueuzian is the director of CSLI Publications, publisher of seven books by Donald Knuth. He has known Knuth since the late seventies when Knuth was developing TeX and Metafont, the typesetting and type designing computer programs, respectively.

Tags: Burroughs Corporation, Electrodata Corporation, Pasadena, Sperry Rand, Unisys, Remington Rand, Edsger Dijkstra

Duration: 1 minute, 51 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008