Sir Tony Hoare On Concurrency
Written by Sue Gee   
Sunday, 27 January 2019

Living legend, C A R Hoare, or more informally Tony Hoare, who is known for Quicksort, Hoare Logic and the formal language CSP, explains in a 10-minute interview with Erlang Solutions how he became interested in concurrency.

The Erlang Solutions blog, which is where this You Tube video was initially published, explains that the opportunity to get Sir Tony Hoare to talk on camera about concurrency arose last November at Cambridge University Computing Lab.  


During the interview , Hoare explains that having failed to deliver an operating system in the 1960s due to not understanding concurrency, he moved into academia, becoming Professor of Computing Science at the Queen's University of Belfast in 1968.

He states:

One of the objectives of my research I made was the exploration of what concurrency really meant and how to tame it. In 1965, I had met Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard, who were the designers of a language called Simula 67, which had an enormous influence on the propagation of ideas of object-oriented programming, and it impressed me greatly. They had a concept of timing which was implemented as a simulated time train in the way that is completely standard nowadays. That gives a framework within which one could explore the meaning of real concurrency.

Later in the video he notes how Edsger Dijkstra influenced the design of the notation that turned out to be CSP, Communicating Sequential Processes, a formal language for specifying the interactions of concurrent processes which Hoare worked on for several years prior to the publication of his seminal paper in  1978. 

It was this paper that gave rise to languages such as Occam and Erlang and most recently Go, which is the latest language to acknowledge its debt to Hoare's work. 


For more about Sir Tony's Hoare, see our 2012 report on the occasion of his 78th birthday,  Birthday Greetings to Discoverer of Quicksort. 

More Information

Erlang Solutions - Let's #TalkConcurrency with Sir Tony Hoare

Tony Hoare's bio on Wikipedia

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