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Alan J. Perlis papers

 Collection
Identifier: CBI 64
The collection contains correspondence, class handouts, lecture notes and visual aids, published articles and reports, subject files, audio tapes and videotapes relating to Alan Perlis' work in computer science education, programming languages, and compiler programs. The collection includes transcripts and recordings of classroom lectures for one course and notes for other course that Perlis taught. Committee records include minutes, correspondence, and reports from committees on which Perlis served including a number of Yale faculty committees. Perlis' M.S. thesis and Ph.D. dissertation are included in his subject files along with information on the programming languages ALGOL, APL, and LISP, and several compilers including the IT compiler. The audio tapes include a panel discussion and a discussion of the Strategic Defense Initiative. The videotapes document the fortieth anniversary of ACM and includes a segment on Perlis.

Dates

  • 1942-1989

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Access to materials:

Access to the collection is unrestricted.

Copyright:

The Charles Babbage Institute holds the copyright to all materials in the collection, except for items covered by a prior copyright (such as published materials). Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provisions of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

Extent

6 boxes (4.5 cubic feet)

Overview

Collection contains correspondence, class handouts, lecture notes and visual aids, published articles and reports, subject files, audio tapes and videotapes relating to Perlis' work in computer science education, programming languages, and compiler programs.

Biographical Note

Alan J. Perlis received a B.S. in chemistry from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1943, and an M.S. (1949) and PhD (1950) in mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). At M.I.T. he worked on Project Whirlwind from 1948-1949, and again in 1952, after a year at the Ballistic Research Laboratories, Aberdeen Proving Ground. In 1952 he became director of the Computing Laboratory and an assistant professor of Mathematics at Purdue University. In 1956 he took a position at Carnegie Institute of Technology (later Carnegie-Mellon University). There he was director of the computation center, 1956-1960; chair of the Department of Mathematics, 1960-1964; and chair of the Computer Science Department, 1965-1971. In 1971 he was appointed Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science at Yale, and served as chair of the Computer Science Department 1976-1980, except for the 1977-1978 year when he was the Gordon and Betty Moore Professor of Computer Science at the California Institute of Technology.

Throughout his professional life, his dominant interest remained programming languages. In the mid-1950s, Perlis began to design the IT (Internal Translator) compiler at Purdue and he completed the project after moving to Carnegie Institute of Technology. As chair of the Association for Computer Machinery committee charged to develop a common universal programming language in 1957, he worked to create ALGOL. ALGOL is a second generation language which led to PASCAL and other derivative languages and helped establish new standards for the development of programming languages. Later, Perlis worked with APL while at Yale.

Perlis wrote several articles and books on programming and compilers including an introductory text on computer programming. Perlis was active in the Association for Computer Machinery, becoming the first editor of Communications of the ACM(1958-1962), and president of the ACM from 1962 to 1964.

Perlis received the A. N. Turing Award of the ACM in 1966 and the AFIPS Education Award in 1984.

Arrangement of Collection

The materials in this collection are arranged into the following groups:
  1. Class Materials, 1962-1987
  2. Committee Records, 1976-1987
  3. Conference Records, 1956-1989
  4. Correspondence, 1969-1989
  5. Subject Files, 1942-1987
  6. Talks and Lectures, 1951-1988
  7. Audio Tapes and Video Tapes, undated and 1985

Acquisition:

The records were given to the Charles Babbage Institute by Mrs. Alan J. Perlis in 1990 and the Association for Computing Machinery in 1990.
Title
Alan J. Perlis Papers, 1942-1989. Finding Aid.
Author
Prepared by Pat Hennessy, March 1991.
Date
2004
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Charles Babbage Institute Archives Repository

Contact:

612-624-5050