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On a more theoretical note we had the possibility of a proof that P=/NP ( Proof of P≠NP? ). An idea that didn't have earth shattering practical repercussions but the level of interest it provoked was enough to suggest that computer science in its purest form isn't dead yet. As it turn out the proof had flaws and while there is still a hope that the approach might lead to a proof in time for the moment the question is still open. (Update on the Proof of P≠NP?)
Although the practical effects haven't quite hit just yet I think that we will look back on 2010 as the year that the steam finally ran out of IPv4 (Less than a year of IP addresses left). The transition to IPv6 in the coming years isn't likely to be smooth by any measure. (Fast running out of IPv4 addresses)
Also worth a mention are Rails 3.0 (Rails 3.0 Released) which integrated Merb and updated the API and the last version of Python 2.x - from here new Pythons will be non-backward compatible 3.x.
We also had Microsoft's Lightswitch, yet another attempt to make programming easy by restricting what can be done and Microsoft's MVC framework pushed on into new territory with the ill-conceived Razor syntax and view engine. ( Microsoft Lightswitch Beta ships early - First Look , LightSwitch - the developer's take and Microsoft WebMatrix and Razor)
Google seemed to make a splash with a new language - Google Go which surfaced and then sunk back to be swallowed up in internal projects to the cries of "do we really need another language". Next year should prove how much of a splash in the pan it was. ( Why invent a new language? Go creator explains and Go with Google - Yet Another Language!)
Google actually killed off Wave only to resurrect parts of it as ShareSpace later in the year and passing it off to an open source project (Wave is far from dead ).
On the subject of things dying we also need to remember that this is the year that Microsoft finally gave up on its Iron project - IronPython and IronRuby are now independent open source projects (why not do this with VB6?) (Microsoft lets go of Iron languages and Microsoft's Dynamic languages are dying)
On the web the biggest noise was, of course, Facebook. First the smash hit movie The Social Network raised its profile and that of its founder to the point where Zuckerberg was named Time person of the year. Second the range of controversies generated by what Facebook was doing with users data to generate an income.
For programmers though the terrible times that Digg 4 had was more interesting if painful to watch. Remember - never ever roll out a new version unless you can roll it back again. Digg 4 is still best described as a buggy mess - terrible shame.
On the people front - Ray Ozzie left Microsoft, Linus Torvalds became a US citizen, Asimo turned 10, Mitch Kapor turned 60 (Lotus 1-2-3 designer turns 60) and we got hot under the collar about some paper offprints that Alan Turing passed on to a friend that were up for sale at Christies. (Christies sells Apple I but not the Turing papers)
And finally Benoit Mandelbrot father of fractals and Maurice Wilkes, father of British computing, died in 2010.
Let's hope that 2011 has some interesting algorithmic twists in store.
If you think I've missed an earth shattering programming event of 2010 then email:
I can't promise to add it but I will try to.
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